HC Deb 16 March 1906 vol 153 cc1541-83

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Eye),

in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said he would try to say a few words about it without being too scientific or technical, for if one went in for all the technical and scientific aspects of the question of brewing there would be very few Members of the House who would understand it, and he was afraid he should not be one of the number. He thought everyone who had read the Bill would agree that it was a very moderate measure, and would involve less scientific discussion than the Bill of 1902. It would be noticed that he had made no attempt in it entirely to exclude the use of sugar in brewing. Acting on expert advice, the promoters had provided that 85 per cent. of the saccharine-yielding material used in the brewing of barley beer should be barley malt, leaving 15 per cent. for the sugar. It was to some extent a matter of opinion still; but he thought the general opinion was that 15 per cent. of sugar was sufficient for all practical purposes. Sugar was not necessarily injurious in brewing. He did not suggest that it was; indeed, if he did, he did not think he should be justified in allowing sugar to be included at all among the brewing ingredients in this Bill. But of one thing there was no doubt—that sugar was less nutritious than barley malt, producing, as it did, alcohol and carbonic acid gas, and very little else; and that was not what was wanted in beer. He did not know why they should not have beer pure under the Bill—they liked it pure in the pot. The principle of this measure could be best expressed in the words of one very important witness, who gave evidence before the Brewing Materials Commission a year or two ago. He was a brewer, and these were his words— The most essential point, I maintain, is that the public should have a right to know what they are purchasing when they think they are buying beer, and that a man, when he sells beer, should be under an obligation that he should declare that what he sells—or it should be known without declaration—that what he sells is of the nature and substance demanded. He did not wish to go beyond that, but he said that when a British working-man or anyone else, who wanted to, drink beer of a certain standard of purity, took the trouble to demand it, he should have a right to be supplied with it. Let the brewers use what they liked, so long as the public knew what they were drinking, and had a recognised right to obtain what they wanted. The present definition of beer was a very wide one. It was laid down by the Inland Revenue Act of 1880 and was extended in 1885, and included ale, porter, spruce, beer, black beer, etc., and also "anything sold as beer or a substitute for beer, which contained more than 2 per cent. of proof spirit." So the net result was that if a bar-tender or waiter was sufficiently unscrupulous to offer a customer something he described as beer, so long as it contained 2 per cent. of proof spirit, he might do so—and every alcoholic drink and almost every teetotal drink would come under this description. He did not think that was a desirable thing. If a man wanted a pint or a pot of beer brewed from barley, malt, and hops—he thought he was drinking it now, but he was not—and if he took the trouble to demand it, power should be given him to obtain it. Among the advantages which this Bill would bring to the public, he held in the first place that it was in the cause of temperance. The whole House would agree with him in saying that one of the greatest causes of intemperance in this country was the inferior type of tied houses, and if they looked at this Bill carefully they would see that it was only that low type of tied house, and the low-class brewers who depended for their profits on those houses, who would be affected in the slightest degree by this Bill. It was a matter of very general knowledge that it was this low type of house which did so much to fill the workhouses, asylums and prisons. Anything they could do to prevent that and to decrease the ill-effects of bad beer would, he maintained, be a social reform that ought to be supported by this House, and this Bill would have that effect. There was another reason. The tied house system was to his mind the very worst form of protection, and surely a free trade Parliament would do what it could to alter it if only on that ground. It was not consistent with the principles of free trade that these tied houses should exist as they did, and he put that as one strong argument in favour of the Bill. Let them look, for the moment, at the standard of purity which prevailed abroad. In Belgium the standard of purity was higher than that which was laid down in this Bill, and there were far fewer habitual drunkards there than in this country. In Bavaria Pure Beer Acts had been in force since 1516, and they had been brought up to date by periodical subsequent enactments, and Bavaria was noted for the temperance of its inhabitants. In the case of Germany he did not say that the people of that country did not drink beer—they drank it in large quantities—but they did not get drunk on it, and it did not have a bad effect on their health or system. In Germany a standard of beer purity was laid down in all cases except that of beer for export. The authorities allowed any chemicals to be used in their exported beer, but they laid down a standard of purity for beer that was to be drunk at home. Some time ago there were issued some figures of comparison in relation to the relative temperance of Berlin and Birmingham. The average consumption of beer in Berlin was greater than in Birmingham, but the average number of habitual drunkards per thousand was thirty times greater in Birmingham than in Berlin. He thought those figures looked as if beer defended by a standard of purity was more wholesome than so-called scientific beer which contained almost any chemical one liked to name. They had the evidence of some great doctors that cirrhosis of the liver was caused by the drinking of beer in the manufacture of which sulphates had been used; and they well knew that sulphates of different natures were used very largely in the brewing of beer. A brewer who had written to him on this subject said that bisulphite of lime was used much more largely than any other preservative or hop substitute, and adds— It is unnecessary to enter this preservative in the column in the Excise brewing book set apart for hop substitutes, and in my opinion, gained from experience, it is often used in sufficient quantities to be injurious to health. He had many letters about this Bill, but he read this first because he understood the bulk of the opposition to the Bill was prompted by the brewers, and he thought any argument put forward by a brewer in favour of a standard of purity was of value. As to hop substitutes, evidence was given before the Brewing Materials Committee by Dr. Cornelius O'Sullivan, who was recognised as a great authority on brewing questions, and held a position as a chemist and brewer under Messrs. Bass, Radcliffe and Gretton. His testimony was to the effect that hop substitutes were used in the cheaper beers only—the beer for the most part drunk by the working-classes in the lower class of tied houses. It was on behalf of the working-classes who liked their glass of beer that he brought this Bill forward. It was not a protective Bill, but a measure of social reform, which he brought forward on behalf of the beer-drinking public, and he took it that they had a right to be considered in the matter. He had a scale submitted to the Country Brewers' Society by Dr. Moritz as to the average proportions of ingredients used in the brewing of English beers. The quantity of English malt was stated at from 66 to 50 per cent., foreign malt, 34 to 25 per cent., and sugar, invert or glucose, 0 to 25 per cent. The quantity of sugar he had allowed in this Bill was rather greater than the mean, but he did not say that that was necessarily the standard that should be laid down, and if there was a strong feeling that the proportion was too much or too little, the question was a small one which might easily be adjusted in Committee. He would deal for a few moments with some objections which he heard were likely to be raised to the Bill. There was the objection of the brewers. He understood that the Brewers' Society had issued a circular—they had not sent him one—calling on Members of the House to reject this Bill— Which imposes upon the scientific development of British brewing industries arbitrary restrictions, and in no way provides safeguards for the public health or secures for consumers a guarantee as to the purity of the materials employed. As to the scientific development of British brewing, he was told that a very pleasant - tasting beer could be obtained from these materials:—gelatinised maize, quassia, dextro-lævu-lose, isinglass, antacidine, salicylic acid, viscosoline, and gypsum. Did they think the working-man, coming from his work and going into a public-house for a pint of beer, wanted to drink that sort of stuff? He did not know what some of the substances were, but some he did know, and those he certainly did not want to drink. This Bill would not prevent people from drinking beer made from chemicals if they wanted to, but it would give them a guarantee that they should not, if they did not want to, drink a beer made of such materials as he had specified. In May last year there was given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to his predecessor in the representation of the Rye Division a rather interesting answer in relation to materials uaed by English brewers. It was a long list of unpronounceable words, which, whatever their meaning, sounded most unwholesome. He would not say whether the British workman would declare that these beers were wholesome or not; but what he insisted upon was that when the British workman wanted to drink barley beer he ought to have the right ti obtain it. A French king, when pressed to invade this country long ago, said that the Englishmen were fed on such good beer and beer that it would be an impossible task to invade Great Britain. These were the days when beer was pure by statute; and why should we do away with the conditions which produced such an impression on the mind of a great French potentate? Surely it was the desire of the disciples, not only of the blue-water school, but of the linked barralion system, that there should be continued the means of producing by the roast beef of Old England and its historic beer the men for the first and also for the second line of defence of England? He expacted that every Member of the House had been lately attending smoking concerts. [MINISTERIAL ironical cheers.] Did not hon. Gentlemen opposite attend smoking concerts in their constituencies? [MINISTERIAL ironical cries of "NO!"] Well, he had taken part in many such smoking concerts in his and other constituencies, and there was often a song at these concerts, which ran:—"I likes a glass of good beer, I does"—and going on through many verses in a similar jovial strain. Well, these men should be allowed to have it ! They ought not to have forced upon them one of those concoctions which had been described to the House. If these men wanted and asked for a glass of barley beer, why should they not receive it? This question of the purity of beer was one which the great brewers of the country could not oppose. The product of the large majority of these brewers would come well within the definitions of the Bill. It was only the small brewers, who depended largely on the protection of the low-class tied houses, who would be affected by this Bill. He did not think that the protection of the tied houses ought to have the sympathy of a free trade House like the present. A great deal had been said that if they attempted, as it was alleged was done under the provisions of the Bill, to interfere with the development of scientific brewing and the use of chemicals, the English beer would become heavier and stronger. The whole question was the difference between the barley beer and the chemical beer. The barley beer was a working-man's food as well as a drink; chemical beer was not. He maintained that beer should contain the properties of food as well as those of drink, and that it did so until scientific brewing came in. He admitted that it might possibly be more desirable that there should be no demand for beer at all, but the depravity of human nature was so great that we liked to drink beer, and so we must look at this question not from the point of view of whether beer or water was preferable, but on the assumption that beer would be drunk in any case, and that a standard of purity should therefore be fixed for the sake of those who wished to know what they were drinking. Another question which would be raised was that of the public taste. It was said that the public taste was changing from heavy beers to light ones which were brewed from these chemicals. He did not know why that claim should be made. The largest of our brewing firms brewed without using chemicals at all. Guinness, the largest brewers in the United Kingdom, did so. And how was it that the demand for their beers continued to be so great in the country? How was it that Bass & Co. brewed beer which came well within the standard laid down in this Bill, and yet had a continued large demand for their old pure beers? It was perfectly absurd to say that the taste of the country for beer depended on brewing with scientific chemicals. It was perfectly absurd to contend that the taste of the country demanded these light chemical beers rather than sound, wholesome barley beer. The return of the brewing materials used, issued last week, showed that 52,000,000 bushels of barley malt were used last year; and that all the other substances, including saccharine, had amounted to only 14,000,000 odd bushels in terms of barley malt. The average use of barley malt was therefore something like 78 per cent. When the House admitted, as they must, that a certain type of inferior beer was supplied by the tied houses which had better not be supplied, the effect of that 78 per cent. would be increased and would come to nearly, if not quite, the 85 per cent. provided for in the Bill. Another point which might be raised, though he did not think it would, was that the employment of barley malt might involve the risk of arsenical poisoning; but it had been clearly shown by the Commission that all risk in that direction was easily avoidable, and he did not think it need be seriously considered. Nor would he use this argument against the use of sugar. One other objection was going to be raised—at least he was told so, and it astounded him. It was that the Bill was a protective measure. If the Bill laid it down that barley beer must be brewed from English hops and English barley, he granted it might be called protective; but it did not, and while the foreigner had a right to send his hops and his barley into our markets how could the Bill be called a protective measure? The only thing that might be protected was the interior economy of the British working-man, and surely that was a form of protection which even a free trade Parliament would recognise as desirable. It had been said, too, that this Bill was but the thin end of the wedge. It was not so; it was the whole wedge. For if this Bill were passed it would give all they asked for—the righ of every man to obtain, on asking for it, beer of a certain standard of purity. He maintained that this was a Bill of social reform in the cause of temperance and health, and as such should have the support of the great Liberal Party, which had come to this House pledged to social reform. It should have the support of the Labour Members, who were always eager to do anything which was in the interests of the British working-man, and it should have the support of the Irish Nationalists who had told the House and country that they were always willing to support anything in the way of progress and for the welfare of their fellow-creatures. He asked the House to pass the Second Reading of the Bill and thanked them for the courtesy, kindness and consideration with which they had listened to his speech. He begged to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

MR. BARNARD (Kidderminster)

said that he rose to second the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill because it appeared to him that it was only fair and right that the customer should be supplied with what he asked for and that he should know what he was buying. It was the "tied house" system of this country which in a large degree prevented the purchaser from having his choice. He thought the Bill was in the interest of the country generally. The House should remember that there was at present no recognised standard as to what beer was. We had had a definition of whiskey and of margarine and butter, but as to beer, there was no definition of what it was or any effective supervision of what was to be put into it. To all intents and purposes in regard to what was known as the "free mash-tun," the only supervision exercised was that of the Revenue officials. It appeared to him that there were many reasons why there should be some searching examination of what was used in the manufacture of beer. Malt was distinctly nutritious, but in the case of other articles to which allusion had been made, it was clear that they did not contain the nutritive qualities of the article to which he had alluded. Hon. Members seemed to think that the health of the people was not affected by the quality of the beer they drank, but it was a matter of experience that persons drinking bee made from malt and hops did not suffer in health to the degree that people who. drank beer made from other materials did. Exception might perhaps be taken to two of the clauses of the Bill. The first was the one which provided that 85 per cent. should be malt and hops, and 15 per cent. other ingredients. The mover had stated that that was not a hard and fast rule, but was open to alteration. The other clause provided that if any person sold beer of this adulterated description in a licensed house, he should be liable to lose his licence. He was quite aware that some hon. Members thought that a drastic clause, but it appeared to him essential that there should be such a clause if an Act of Parliament of this kind was to be operative. The evidence showed that in regard to the presence of arsenic in beer the brewers had overcome that difficulty. When, however, he turned to raw grain, the quantity of rice and the huge amount of sugar, a different question was opened up. In the Army contracts for India one of the conditions laid down by the War Office was that the beer should be brewed from malt and hops alone, and he assumed that the Indian Government, in laying down that principle, had strong reasons in favour of the argument he was endeavouring to address to the House. Another point was the nutrition contained in malt. It was well known that the principal articles of baby food made by chemists had as the foundation of their strength the basis of malt. Who were the people who objected to this Bill? The brewers, who declared that if this alteration in the law was made, it would not help the English farmers, because they should not use so much English barley, as barley from other countries came in free. The only article which paid duty in this connection was sugar, and he should be glad to see the duty on that lessened. Then there was a point which he wanted hon. Members who held extreme temperance views to bear in mind. If they studied statistics of the towns of England, they would find that more charges of drunkenness arose in connection with tied houses towns than in connection with free-houses. Taking the town which he represented, there were a number of small brewers who did not use sugar at all, and it was a remarkable fact that the return of drunkenness in that place was as low as in any other town of its size in the United Kingdom. The brewers said that they ought to be allowed their "free mash tun." On their side they said that a man ought to be able to sell what he chose and yet they said it was impossible for the tenant of a tied house in these days to buy what he chose. The brewer argued that the public taste required what they sent out, but he ventured to urge that they had educated the public taste in the direction which suited their commercial arrangements. He did not want to use any cross words in regard to the arrangements between the tied house tenant and the brewer, but he thought he should not be saying anything offensive if he-said that they were "tainted with slavery." Guinness', the largest brewers in the world, did not use any sugar at all, nor did Bass', with their enormous trade, except for priming. He wanted to show what had been the effect of the imposition of the war tax in regard to the use of malt. He found that there was a decrease of 7,000,000 bushels of malt after the war, with no decrease in substitutes. Though these worthy gentlemen paid about £1,500,000 for the extra shilling on the barrel, if the report was correct, they sent out so many more barrels of water that they largely reduced that loss. He-thought it was quite right to allude to the report which had been sent out by the Treasury. What did it prove? In Ireland, with the enormous brewery of Guinness', they used 6,000,000 bushels of malt and very little sugar. How was that affected by the Bill? There were rather more than 5,000 brewers in the country, and of those 3,500 used hardly any, or a very small quantity, of sugar or substitutes at all. Therefore, the only persons influenced were the 1,730 who were left. He would remind the House that all those people in the country who brewed and sold their own beer were practically a long way within the scope of this measure which he was seconding, and it was only the 1,730 who would be affected. If they took the first four breweries in the country, what did they find? Bass' used none at all for brewing and they were doing remarkably well. Guinness' were doing remarkably well. The next brewery they came to was not doing well, and it was known that they were using 21 per cent. of these substitutes, and the next was using 14 per cent. and doing remarkably well. The Bill asked for an expression of opinion that it was desirable in the interest of the public that so long as the monopoly of the licensing trade continued in this country it should be an obligation on the part of the licensee to sell barley beer to such of his customers who asked him for it. It was in that spirit, and in that spirit alone, that he seconded the Second Reading of this Bill.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Courthope.)


moved that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. He congratulated the hon. Member for the Rye Division of Sussex on the courage and intrepidity with which he had moved the Second Reading of a Bill of so crude, fantastic, and unworkable a nature. A Bill of a similar character was brought in in 1902 and those who dissented from its proposals and provisions were easily able to give that Bill a decent burial. But the measure had been exhumed, and he asked the House again to decently inter it. In other days Mr. Quilter and Mr. Chaplin, in season and out of season, took up the cudgels in this matter and became the champions, guardians, and protagonists of Bills such as this, in the altogether mistaken belief that it was going to redound to the benefit of English agriculture; but though those Gentlemen were no longer in the House they had standard-bearers left in historic succession. He had been reminded that this Bill contained no new principle. That was so. In various garbs this principle had come before successive Governments in different Parliaments and had failed to receive the sanction of the House. The provisions of this Bill, with its restrictions, prescriptions, and penal provisions, reminded him of the sumptuary laws of bye-gone days. He was painfully aware of his own shortcomings in dealing with the technical questions with which this subject bristled, but he brought to the consideration of the broad issue contained in the Bill a mind wholly unembarrassed by past or present interest in the agricultural or brewing industries. The Bill had been advocated in the name of temperance, and it seemed to him a strange way to advocate temperance to ask men to brew and drink a heavier and stronger beer. Before lager beer was introduced it was noticed that beer was rather strong in alcohol, that it was narcotised by hops. An opinion was largely prevalent amongst people of the medical profession that intoxication partook much more of the nature of narcotic poisoning than the not altogether unwholesome alcoholic stimulation. They had been told by the hon. Member of the wonderful effect that would be produced upon the physique of our people if the Bill became law; that their strength would be so increased that we should be able to reduce our Army by several battalions. If that were true everybody in the House would be tumbling over one another to record their votes in favour of the Bill. The hon. Member had recited the noxious things that brewers put into their beer, and the demoralising effects they had upon the people. One of the ingredients, he understood, was quassia. Well, he believed that to be a most useful ingredient; in fact, he took a good deal of it himself when not feeling up to the mark. Then there was isinglass, which was largely used in cooking, and gypsum, which was only phosphate of lime, an equally desirable ingredient. If the hon. mover and seconder of this Bill would show that the existing conditions were such that they were detrimental and prejudicial to the people of this country, and that the passing of this Bill would be for the benefit of the consumer, and would conduce also to the prosperity of the agricultural interests, he would be one of the first to vote in its favour, but from the industrial, scientific, hygienic and economic point of view—from any standpoint he thought it could be proved that that was not the fact. The hon. Member who seconded the Resolution had fallen foul of the tied house system. He held no brief for the tied houses, but if he wanted to get rid of the principle of the tied house, this was certainly not the occasion to do it. He reminded the hon. Member for Rye that substitutes for sugar were not used for the purpose of economy, and that there was absolutely no difference between sugar derived from malt and that derived from other substitutes; they were chemically and scientifically identical. There was much more danger of hops and barley being contaminated than of the contamination of sugar or other saccharine substances. It was a matter of common knowledge and notoriety that one of the essentials of good beer depended upon what was called nitrogenous or albuminous properties which were derived from the malt and the starchy portion derived from the saccharine matter which, under this Bill, it was proposed to limit to 15 per cent. The promoters of this Bill said that, if the proportion of 15 per cent. was allowed, the beer would be good, but where there was more it was bad. Where was the magic of the figure of 15 per cent.; was it not setting up a standard arbitrary and empirical for which no justification or scientific formulae could be adduced. The question was were these substitutes deleterious or not; if they were deleterious 15 per cent. should not be allowed; not one fiftieth should be used. In his opinion it was a rank injustice that a perfectly honourable class of manufacturers in this country should have their business interfered with and be constantly harassed at the bidding of mere chimerical ideas. Were these substitutes really injurious? In the opinion of the Committee, which reported in 1899, appointed to consider the whole question of brewing materials, they were not. The Majority Report of that Committee stated that if substitutes were not used foreign barley would have to be used in a far larger proportion, and British barley in such small amounts in competition with the foreign barley as practically to exclude much British barley; so that, so far from this being a protective Bill, it would lead to the absolute diminution of barley growing in this country. The Report of that Committee also showed, as regard the prejudicial effect of the sugar and the use of other substitutes, in the view of the experts examined there was no truth whatever in such a description; that the products of science had gradually been utilised so as to blend skilfully with the products of nature, and to produce the sort of light beverage which the consumer demanded. Sugar was not put into the mash-tun for the purpose of economy, but to get those light kinds of beer for which a taste had grown, and which he hoped the House would do nothing to discourage. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Second Reading laid great stress on the fact that people should be allowed to have the sort of beer they wanted; he saw no difficulty about that. If there was a large demand for a particular beer the trade would see that that beer was supplied. The hon. Member said that Bass and Guinness did not use saccharine substitutes. Why not? Because there was a demand for a heavier beer and stout both at home and abroad. If the brewers saw a general demand for a heavy beer they would very soon produce it. Then he came to the penal provisions of the Bill. It provided that when a brewer or his assistant or servant failed to give the customer a particular beer which he demanded he was to be mulcted in a fine varying from £50 to £250. That was a most unjust provision. There was no appeal from summary conviction, nor was there any appeal from Clause 2 which laid down that if any brewer knowingly sold or offered for sale as barley beer any beer brewed or prepared in contravention of that section, he should be subject to a fine varying from £100 to £500. Upon what evidence were they going to sacrifice this victim to the principle of pure beer, and by what machinery were the penalties to be enforced and pressed home? He noticed with pleasure that this point had also been gone into by the Departmental Committee, who declared that they were satisfied that with the present state of scientific knowledge it was not possible to obtain sufficient accuracy on analysis to ensure a conviction. He thought they would hesitate to act on evidence of that description. He had had the advantage of consulting on this matter in his own county a brewer who was also a maltster, and who therefore was in a position to take a comprehensive and impartial view of the provisions of, and the reasons for, this Bill, and this brewer had assured him that if the Bill became law it would sound the death knell of British barley, while failing to do any good to the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had had several demands made upon him to improve the condition of the working classes—demands which were perfectly justified in some instances—but if they were going to add to the demands this Bill, which would diminish the consumption of sugar, and consequently lead to a decrease in the Exchquer returns, he thought that the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be a bed of roses; and that the financial chess board of this country would assume a position of the utmost gravity. There was no public demand for this measure, no evidence having been adduced that any important section of the community wanted it. He was convinced that it was an unwarrantable interference with the normal, natural, and scientific development of a huge industry, while it left the foreign manufacturer of beer perfectly free. Because he was convinced that the Bill would have a most injurious and deleterious effect upon all the interests concerned, as well as upon a great industry which contributed very largely to the British Exchequer, while it carried on its operations under the ægis, the sanction, and the supervision of a Government Department, he asked the House to read the Bill this day six months.

MR. PAUL (Northampton)

said he seconded the Amendment of the hon. Baronet for the rejection of this ridiculous Bill. He need hardly say that he did not apply that epithet to the speech of the hon. Member for the Rye Division of Sussex to which all listened with pleasure. He could assure the hon. Gentleman he would not use the argument generally known as the thin end of the wedge, because he did not know what it had to do with the Bill, and he was equally unable to understand what this Bill had to do with the question of tied houses. If the hon. Gentleman would bring in a Bill for dealing with the relations between brewers and tied houses, he would promise to give it most attentive and favourable consideration. The hon. Gentleman thought that the adoption of the Bill would render less likely the invasion of this country by a foreign power. That was an argument which would be better brought forward and developed when naval armaments were under discussion in Committee of Supply. What was it that this Bill really did? The hon. Member for Kidderminster was good enough to say that the opposition to this Bill came entirely from the brewers. He would very much like to know where his (Mr. Paul's) brewery was. His only connection with brewers was that they worked very hard to keep him out of Parliament, and if he should ever come forward as the champion of any trade, the brewing trade would be the last he should select. Nevertheless brewers were entitled to common justice and such measure of commonsense in legislation as the House was able to apply. This Bill divided all who dealt in liquor into three criminal categories. He did not think there was a clause in the Bill which did not contain a penalty. The first category consisted of those brewers to whom everyone might apply for barley beer. He had never heard anyone ask for barley beer, although he had heard invalids ask for barley water, and he might say, in passing, that he thought a pure water Bill would be infinitely more advantageous than this measure. If a brewer sold beer not made of barley, but made in a modern scientific manner, he would be liable for a third offence to a penalty of £500. What was the second class of penalty? If anyone went into a public-house and asked for barley beer, and the publican said, "Go somewhere else, I don't keep it," the publican would be liable to a penalty of £250. Again, if a brewer indulged in free trade and got his malt, hops, sugar, etc., where he could, and some of it came from abroad and he did not label every cask, bottle, and tap, he would be a criminal of another type, and would be liable to a penalty of £100. Was the Bill really brought before the House in a serious spirit? Pure beer Bill! It was a pure protection Bill. He should have thought from the point of view of the promoters of this Bill the failure to give protection against foreign barley was a fault and not a merit. The fact was that the natural man was a protectionist. The great French economist Bastiat had summed up the whole question. The umbrella maker, he said, was in favour of protection for umbrellas, and free trade in wood, silk, and whalebone. He had no doubt the hon. Member for the Rye Division of Sussex was in favour of protection for hops, and free trade for hop-poles. Everyone was really a natural monopolist. He had sometimes wondered why in these days people were allowed to write books, because if they were not they would have to buy his, and although it might be very bad for them it would be very good for him. He was astounded to see on the back of this protectionist Bill the name of the hon. Member for East Norfolk, who the other night supported the Motion of his hon. friend the Member for the Colne Valley. "Frailty, thy name is woman!" But the frailest of the sex was a model of virtue compared with the practical politician who picked up his principles as he went along. Another name on the back of the Bill was that of the hon. and gallant Member for the Newport Division of Shropshire, whose name had caused one of the fiercest turmoils that ever exercised ecclesiastical circles in this country. Let him not bring beer into the category of religion. This Bill was against science—not the science that dwelt in the clouds and the stars, but the practical side—science applied, as it was intended, for the benefit and use of man. Brewers understood brewing better than the Members of the House of Commons, and they had learned from men of science to make substitutes which were pleasant and wholesome. The supporters of this Bill spoke as if malt and hops were the only proper ingredients of beer. Why should these scientific methods not be used? If the beer made from these substitutes was nasty, people would not drink it, and if it was unwholesome they would soon find it out. They were not distinguishable either by the taste, by subsequent effects, or by chemical analysis from malt and hops, or barley, for which they were used as substitutes, and they were perfectly and absolutely harmless. The beer produced by these substitutes was not altogether like the old beer. People who drank the good old-fashioned English ale told him that unless they were exceedingly careful it sent them to sleep. And what was the soporific part of it? Why, hops, and the beer scientifically brewed, though the hon. Member for Cockermouth might think it was not much better than any-other, was lighter, more wholesome, and contained far less alcohol, and they would find this was so if they subjected it to any experimental methods they pleased. The hon. Member who was more familiar with alcohol and its effects than any other hon. Member of this House would recollect the case of the farmer who rode up to the door of a public-house and said, "I want to try your beer; bring me a quart," and after drinking a second quart he said, "Your beer is good, I think I will get down and have some." That was the experimental method in a very simple form; and it was used in the course of the general election in regard to the equal loaves of Birmingham. A baker told him that they might have two loaves the same size and the same price, one made from taxed dear corn and the other from untaxed free corn, but they would not be of the same weight because there would be more dough and flour in the one than the other. Loaves, like opinions, had to be weighed as well as counted. Those were simple rudimentary instances, but beer made by modern scientific methods could be subjected to the most rigid chemical analysis and nothing deleterious would be discovered, and why should people, who preferred this beer to the heavier, more alcoholic, and more narcotic beverages that would be produced under this Bill, not be allowed to have it, and why should the brewer be prevented from selling it? This was a Bill against free trade, against science, and against temperance, because these modern light beers really contained very little, if any, more alcohol than the ginger beer and lemonade to which even the hon. Baronet the Member for Cockermouth had no rooted objection The Bill was the last flicker of the great flame of Protection which was lighted three years ago by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. It blazed into its full noontide splendour in 1903. It received a large dash of cold water at the general election, and he believed that in this contemptible measure, the rejection of which he had the honour of seconding, they had its last faint flickering beam.

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 Edward Sassoon.)

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

MR. EDMUND LAMB (Herefordshire, Leominster)

said that this was in no sense a Party Bill. The Second Reading was proposed and the rejection of the measure was moved from opposite Benches. He spoke in support of it as a free trader, but it had been opposed as a protective measure by a free trade Member. If it had not been brought in by the hon. Member for the Rye Division it would have been assuredly brought in by some one else probably on the Ministerial side of the House. There had been in past years a persistent demand for such a measure, and the promoters thought that there was perhaps a chance of the Bill being carried in this House, because certain vested interests were not as strong in Parliament to-day as they had formerly been. There was a demand for this Bill because, whether it was wine or water or whisky or brandy, the plain man wanted to know what he was getting for his money. The argument that there was this demand was admitted because the hon. Member for Northampton said that this was a Bill against scientific methods. It might be pointed out that this was not a compulsory Bill, and if the scientific beer of which the hon. Member approved was going to be ousted by the plain compound of malt and hops, it was because the consumer would prefer the one to the other. The brewer would still have the opportunity of brewing as he pleased. He wished again to emphasise this other point. In his opinion there would be no necessity for this Bill if it was not for the tied house system. He did not think the hon. Member for Northampton understood the tied house system in the country, especially where there was only one house. The tenant had to sell any stuff that was supplied to him by the brewer, and he had to sell as much of it as he possibly could. The brewer was allowed to supply any liquid having more than 2 per cent. of alcohol, and the House knew that certain temperance drinks could be sold as beer under the present regulations. He certainly thought that when the time came when they could get "one man, one licence," and when there was some competition, there would be no need for such a Bill as this. He was sorry that those who had drafted this Bill had abandoned the Johnsonian definition of beer— Beer," said Dr. Johnson, "is a liquor made from malt and hops; it is distinguished from ale in being either smaller or older. Now if this Bill were passed into law, and if a man asked for "beer," he might be given a strong teetotal ginger ale; but if he asked for "barley beer," he would be assured that that beer would not be made from maize or rice, or other grain than barley, and would not contain quassia, strychnine, gentia, salicylic, or Gambia cutch. They might well ask, with Calverley, of those people who drank the stuff that was sold in tied houses in the slums, "Have they digestions, and an actual body, such as dyspepsia might make attacks on?" The hon. Baronet the Member for Hythe had said that quassia was a good thing for some people; but they were not all in a condition to need it, and he did not think it was necessary to make it an ingredient of beer. The hon. Member for Northampton had spoken as if this were to be a compulsory Act; but the question he would put was, To whom would the Bill, if it became an Act, do any injustice at all? They knew that many brewers used only malt and hops in making their beer, and that many firms would like to have such a measure as this passed into law, because it would not only secure to the consumer the freedom of choice which he had not at present, but to some extent would enfranchise the tenant of the tied house. Some people seemed to imagine that this measure smacked of protection. He was convinced that it went the other way. In regard to hops he would say at once that personally he would resist to the utmost of his power protection for English hops. No doubt some hop-growers thought it would benefit their industry, but he did not forget that this was a free-trade country, and foreign hops could always compete with English hops. In regard to barley it was argued in 1902 by the then Member for Launceston, now Lord Justice Moulton, that "the use of substitutes came to the rescue of British barley," otherwise the brewers would have to go to foreign barleys, because the English barleys were so heavy in the albuminous portions of the grain as compared with the starch—and successful brewing depended in maintaining a balance and due proportion between nitrogenous portions of malt, which gave the flavour, and the starchy portions which gave the alcohol. It was claimed that this system "saved us from German beer" coming in, and therefore that that was an argument against the Bill. He contended that the argument was frank protection. Why not use foreign barley if it was the best thing to use for the manufacture of beer? It would be exchanged for some product of British labour, or for some service done. They did not wish to exclude foreign barley or German beer. All they asked was that it should be marked "Imported," and for this reason. In Bavaria for 400 years it had been forbidden to sell beer not made from malted barley, hops, water, and yeast; but they were allowed to use substitutes in the manufacture of beer for foreign export. All that was wanted to be known was, for the sake of the consumer, that foreign substitutes for malted barley had been used in the manufacture of the beer. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were fond of talking of the prosperity of Germany; be would put it to them—was it perhaps due, not to Tariff Reform but to the purity of the national beverage? The last argument against the Bill was that it was a measure directed against the poor brewer. That argument did not carry much weight with him, or in fact appeal to him at all. It was not the monopolist to whom he wanted to show consideration, nor was it the producer who needed protection. It was the consumer who required both consideration and protection and to whom freedom of choice should be secured; and it was because this was a moderate measure and made for freedom, that he asked the House to allow the Bill to be read a second time.

MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

said that so far as this Bill was a protective measure against John Barleycorn, his constituents would have no interest in it. What they did take a great interest in was the cause of temperance, and he had been quite unable to gather from the speeches made in favour of the Bill that it would promote that cause. He was glad of the opportunity of asking subsequent speakers in support of the Bill to make that point quite clear. It would be no justification for passing this Bill to say that it was only a little one; if it did not promote the cause of temperance it would only add to that maze of laws and regulations regarding the sale of liquor which was the difficulty of our time. He had heard the Bill argued for in the interests of the brewers, but not in the interests of temperance. He confessed that daring his election contests he had found in necessary at one time to drink a glass of beer. He hoped that was not a very compromising admission for a candidate interested in temperance reform to make. But the result of drinking that one glass of beer was to arouse in him a raging thirst which might have induced those inclined that way to take many more glasses in order to assuage it. It did seem of great importance to consider whether this result of drinking a glass of beer came from the use of the materials with long Latin names which had been rolled off by hon. Members learned in chemistry. He hoped that that aspect of the question would be dealt with more fully at a subsequent stage of the debate. He had heard of a widow lady who had a son, and who, when informed that that son was in the habit of drinking deeply at night, indignantly denied it, because, as she said, he was always so thirsty in the morning that he could not have drunk much the night before. He remembered that it used to be said in days gone by that the English officials in India drank twelve bottles of beer every day with impunity; and that seemed to show that the materials of which the beer was composed could not have been very injurious, However, his only interest in the Bill was whether it was likely to promote the cause of temperance, and he hoped that that would be cleared up before the vote was taken.

MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)

said it appeared to him that the whole merit of this Bill was in its title. The very word "Pure" had a fascinating and seductive sound, and he could well understand that county councils and other highly educated authorities had sent in petitions to their Members to support the Second Reading of the Bill. In fact, the Bill had been taken up by many people under the impression that if they could only succeed in inducing their Members to support it, they would be doing something in the interests of purity. The very expression "pure beer" was enough to make the ordinary man's mouth water when he recalled the stuff he had been compelled at times to swallow, and was of itself well-nigh sufficient to incline one to support it. The hon. Member for Rye objected to tied houses; but he could not for the life of him see what that subject had to do with the question of the purity of the brew. It was a very great pity that one subject should be mixed up with the other. Most of the ingredients whose long Latin names had been complained of were to be found in the sugar and water necessary for brewing the very best beers. First, there was the word gypsum. He always understood the great merit of the water at Burton was that it contained a slight trace of gypsum. Then it was said that the light beers contained magnesium phosphates; but these were found in the best barley malt. Isinglass was also mentioned. There was not a soup hon. Members would get in a London restaurant which did not contain isinglass. They would not ask for isinglass, but they would get it all the same. In the case of bisulphate of lime, he understood that that was used only in the case of beer made from pure malt and hops when the water was deficient in that particular ingredient and when the beer was required to be exported in bottle. These things only illustrated the immense difficulties in the way of the House of Commons passing a Bill which would make it illegal to use those articles which were commonly found in the manufacture of the best beer. The hon. Gentleman said that malt was an exceedingly nutritious substance, and that other sugars did not contain the same nutritious qualities; but the sugar derived from maize and sugar-cane was as pure as that derived from malted barley. It was therefore an entire mis description to brand as impure beer that which was made from maize, sugar and sugar cane, instead of from malted barley. He had listened with amazement to a statement made by the hon. Member for Kidderminster with respect to Liverpool. The hon. Member said that according to some return there was only one small brewer in Liverpool who brewed his own beer.


I was reading from a Return published last week in the directory headed "Brewers' licences."


said he entirely disputed the accuracy of the statement. If the return stated that there was only one brewer in Liverpool brewing his own beer it was utter nonsense. During the last ten or twelve years the taste of the people had gone entirely in the direction of a lighter, less alcoholic, and more innocuous fluid than the heavy liquor of days gone by. Such light beer could be brewed only from English barley malt, when a proportion of brewer's sugar, made from maize or sugar cane, was also added. An effect of passing the Bill would be either to cause foreign barley to be used instead of English barley, or to diminish the production of very little beers, which the people now wanted. He contended that the change was all in the cause of temperance and sobriety, and had arisen from the improved education and higher standard of the people. That was what most hon. Members who took an interest in the sobriety of the people would desire to bring about. He believed that this taste was part of the progress and improvement of the people in which they had been rejoicing for so many years past. It proceeded from higher education and from the increased standard of comfort of the people, and he believed that if they passed this Bill to-day they would strike a blow at that improvement, because it would drive the people back to those heavy and most objectionable beers which our ancestors used to drink, and from which some people were suffering to-day. Directly they used the word "pure" a definition was necessary as to what "pure" was. If people were compelled to drink pure water how many would drink it at all? Pure water was the most insipid and objectionable fluid that one ever tasted; in the first place you could not get pure water unless it was distilled. There was such a thing as pure whisky, as they had heard from recent litigation, and there was no doubt that legislation was greatly wanted to ensure purity in many of the necessaries of life, but this was not the way to bring about legislation of that character. To pass an Act of Parliament which would have the effect of fixing an arbitrary percentage of malt as the amount to be put into beer would, in his opinion, be a retrograde step instead of a step in advance. This was a most extraordinary Bill. They could see at once how the publican could evade it if he thought fit. He might keep some thick, cloudy, unpalatable fluid which would exactly comply with the provisions of the Bill, and when a customer asked him for barley beer he could place some of this stuff before him, and immediately the customer saw it he would naturally say, "Take it away and give me something different." That was one way of evading the provisions of the Bill. Or the brewer might simply provide himself with some bottles of Bass's beer, and when asked for barley beer he might say, "Well, there you are, there is a bottle of Bass, which is barley beer," and for that he could charge what he liked, and he would charge probably so high a price that the customer would refuse it. These were merely illustrations to show how stupid all these penalty Bills were, and that though they could be evaded they could not be enforced. He thought the Bill if passed would be an intolerable absurdity and would interfere unwarrantably with a great industry, and that, in the cause of the light non-alcoholic beers, in the cause of temperance, in the cause of the English farmers, and in order that the people might avoid having to drink the heavy soporific beers of the past, he hoped the House would abstain from reading this Bill a second time.

MR. ROBERT PRICE (Norfolk, E.)

said he had always argued that there was a distinct and a large public which desired to drink a pure barley malt beer such as was proposed by this Bill, and he had never been able to see any reason why they should not be able to have it. This Bill did not prevent people brewing in the most scientific way, and he could not agree with Lord Justice Moulton, who in 1902 said that if this Bill was passed great obstacles would be placed in the way of scientific brewing. He had not the least doubt that there had been very important chemical discoveries of great utility in connection with beer making, which had no doubt enabled the brewers to get large extracts from the constituents they used, and had enabled them to put a palatable article upon the market at a fair price. When Lord Justice Moulton tried to persuade the House in 1902 that the beer sold then was better than it used to be he did not succeed in persuading him. He knew that beer, and he would like to take Lord Justice Moulton into some of the districts of Norfolk which he represented and show him the dark, cloudy, sticky, disagreeable fluid served out to the agricultural labourers as a result of the development of the great science of brewing. He had been much struck on that occasion by Lord Justice Moulton's description of the way in which fermentation was kept going until the last moment in order that there might be the sparkle in the beer which was so much desired. It sounded perfectly delicious, but in Norfolk the fermentation went on after that, as some knew to their cost. He had been told by one landlady in Norfolk that the beer never got clear until the barrel was nearly empty. So far as he could see, the scientific process as applied to the beer sold in the country districts resulted in thoroughly bad beer being sold, though it was not for him to say that beer brewed under the system suggested in the Bill was going to be better. He quite agreed with the hon. Member opposite that it was easy to evade the provisions of the Bill, but at the same time he had always been accustomed to look upon the brewers as honourable men, and he believed that if they undertook to brew, in addition to this extremely scientific beer, a beer such as was suggested by this Bill, they would do so to the best of their ability. The publicans would be glad to sell it because they would be asked for it, and the more they could sell the better the publican would be pleased. The machinery of the Bill was a matter for consideration in Committee and not on Second Reading. He did not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman in his criticisms of details. As a matter of fact, he did not know that tied houses had anything to do with the Bill. He should not have thought they had, but when it was said that they had nothing to do with the sale of bad beer that was a question on which he joined issue, because he was certain that the filthy and bad stuff sold to the working classes of this country was the direct result of the tied house system. Complaint had been made that the short title did not properly describe the Bill, but the longer title pretty accurately described it. All it did was to make it necessary for every publican to keep pure barley, malt, and hop beer, which was the fluid which most people used to think they were buying when they asked for beer, until they had some enlightenment from debates in this House and outside as to how their beer was altered by the progress of science. Some of them had had an experience of this scientific process and would prefer, if they could get it, to have the home brewed beer such as was still to be found in some of our farms and old country houses. He believed the Bill was a great step towards temperance, as it would lead to the people drinking the light non-alcoholic beers like the German beers. The Bill was demanded by large numbers of people, and as it allowed full scope to scientific brewing he did not see how it could hurt the brewers. The only liability it threw upon them was that they should brew a certain amount of pure barley malt beer, and that the publican should keep such a stock as was required. The larger the stock the publican had to sell the better he and the brewer would be pleased, because it would show that there was a demand for it.


said he ventured to intervene for a few moments in this debate because the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading had made an appeal to the temperance reformers to support this measure. He belonged to a school of temperance reformers which was anxious for any step in advance, and which did not care whether a temperance measure came from a brewer or whether it came from a protectionist, provided it would carry temperance reform a little further. And if this Bill would do anything to redeem this parliamentary session from the reproach of barrenness from the point of view of temperance reform, he would be willing to support this Bill. But he was not persuaded that it was going to assist them from the point of view of temperance reform. The hon. Member had told the House that under this Bill we might arrive at the condition of Belgium and Bavaria, but inasmuch as those were two of the most drink-ridden countries in Europe, the prospect was not encouraging to advocates of temperance reform. The hon. Member who seconded the Bill suggested that it was a measure which would strike a blow at the tied house system. That again was a thing which he confessed would encourage him to support it, for one of the quarrels he had with the Party opposite—a quarrel which induced, some of his friends to work harder against that Party in the general election than they had ever done in the past—was that the Licensing Act of 1904 struck from the hands of the licensing authorities those powers under which the licensing justices had some limited control of tied houses. If he thought that by supporting this Bill they could regain those powers, then he would vote for it. But he did not see that it did anything in that direction, and the hon. Member had not persuaded him that they were going to get much out of the Bill. It was supposed to be a Bill to provide for the purity of beer, and of course a pure liquor was what all desired, but he doubted whether it much mattered from a temperance standpoint whether an intoxicating liquor was made from malt or sugar. If the promoter of the Bill would schedule all the deleterious ingredients to which he had referred and bring them under that section of the Poisons Act, which would require liquors containing such ingredients to be labelled poison, he would get a good deal of support from temperance reformers. The real reason why no temperance reformer ought to be asked to support this Bill was given by the hon. Member who seconded the Second Reading. The hon. Member at the end of his speech told the House that the Bill imposed on every licensee an obligation to keep barley beer on his premises, and on demand supply it to any customer who asked for it. That decided his vote on this Bill. At present there was no obligation on the licensee to supply any particular liquor demanded by customers, or intoxicating liquor of any kind to the customers. That was the law. An inn-keeper was bound to supply food, non-alcoholic in character, and lodging, if he had it, to anyone who came and asked for it, but all licensees were not inn-keepers, and even innkeepers were not bound to supply alcoholic liquor to those who asked for it. That was decided in 1887, and the words of the Judge who decided it in the case of Reg. v. Rymer were— In such a place no one has a right to insist upon being served any more than in any other shops. That being so, the promoters of the Bill had imposed for the first time in the history of our licensing laws such an obligation as far as barley beer was concerned, and he regarded the introduction of such a principle as a dangerous innovation. He therefore appealed to temperance reformers to oppose the Bill. At present there was no obligation on the licensee to supply drink, but, according to this Bill, if he refused to serve any customer who demanded to be served with barley beer he would be liable to a fine on a first offence of £50. He submitted that a provision like that would not operate in the direction of temperance, and was an innovation in the licensing law which could not be tolerated.

COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)

said the hon. Member who had just sat down seemed to be afraid that by the introduction of this Bill they would make it possible for the public to demand to be supplied with beer under circumstances when such a demand could not have been made before. All he could say was that, if the Bill was likely to have the effect suggested by the hon. Member, those who were promoting it would be glad to meet him in the matter and make such a thing impossible. There was not the slightest intention of taking away any of the safeguards of the man who now sold beer. All they desired to do was to ensure that there should be an alternative; that where there was a right to sell beer there should be a right on the customer's part to demand this particular beer. The hon. Gentleman might therefore be assured that there would be no such clanger as he suggested. In answer to the objection of the hon. Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool that the Bill would result in the public being offered what he was pleased to term a heavy, thick, and heady beer, he could only say that if this Bill could be reasonably supposed to work in any such direction he would alter his opinion and vote against it. But a little practical experience was worth a great deal of theory and assertion upon a matter of this kind. Being a practical man he, when the last Bill was defeated, took steps to find out what would be the result of beer brewed in accordance with the principles of this Bill. For nearly four years now he had been constantly supplied under contract by a brewer in his own county, the contract requiring that nothing whatever should enter into the making of the beer except barley, malt, and hops, and that the grain should be grown in Shropshire. If he had only done this a week or two ago for the purpose of making a point on this Bill the experience would have been worth nothing, but it had been going on for four years. This beer was brewed for his own consumption, and, in order to prove what could be done under a Bill of this sort, he had invited the opinion of many visitors on the merits and demerits of the liquor, with the result that he was prepared to say that it was extremely popular. It was light, clear, bright, the reverse of heady, and possessed of all the charms which the hon. Gentleman claimed for beer brewed in another way. In many cases his friends had ordered it for their own consumption. His experience, therefore, disproved the argument that the Bill would provide a concoction of heavy, sleepy, drunkenness-producing beer. He doubted whether any hon. Member had made the same experiment, and could speak with such weight. The Bill left the brewer absolutely free to brew beer exactly as he pleased, merely asking him to have some beer of this description on tap. In so far as the Bill promoted the making of pure beer, he claimed that it would tend in the direction of temperance, though to pretend that this beer would not make the person who took too much drunk was absurd. But there would be nothing in it which would induce a man to ask for another glass after having had one, and so far as that went he certainly thought they were advocating temperance. The arguments against the Bill were contradictory, because some condemned it as against free trade, and others as against the interest of the British barley-grower; the opponents must settle their little differences between themselves. The hon. Baronet who moved the rejection of the Bill had suggested that the promoters of the measure were on the horns of a dilemma, contending that either substitutes were deleterious and ought not to be allowed, or they were not deleterious and ought to be allowed. As a matter of fact, however, the law already dealt with margarine exactly as it was now suggested that it should deal with beer. Therefore, it was the hon. Baronet, and not the promoters of the Bill, who were on the horns of a dilemma, if they were to be consistent in food legislation. It would be an advantage if we could have a recognised standard of purity in all our main articles of consumption, and that anyone should be prosecuted who tampered with that standard. The case against the Bill was somewhat slender, and had rather broken down, because the House would gather that the charge that the beer would be heavier was contrary to scientific fact. That, therefore, could be disposed of at once. Then with regard to the consumer, the promoters of the Bill took their stand boldly on the belief that there was a large section of the general public which did desire,when they asked for beer, that they should have given to them a liquor brewed in accordance with the scheme laid down by the Bill. They desired to have this pure, light, unheady liquor if they could get it, and they could get it if beer was brewed on the lines laid down. Then it was said that it was possible for a licensee to evade the provisions of this Act by selling Bass; but he would not do so because Bass was brewed according to the provisions of the Bill. He confessed he was a little surprised to hear the hon. Member for Lincoln, who spoke on behalf of temperance, say that Belgium and Bavaria could not be quoted as countries in favour of our legislation, because the statistics proved that there was very little drunkenness in either country in relation to the population. lie believed that the hon. Member, in making the reference, had mistaken the facts. He endorsed the remarks made by the hon. Member for East Norfolk as to the condition of the beer supplied in some places under the present circumstances, and he believed that if this Bill passed such a state of things would be rendered almost impossible; at any rate it would make it possible for the labourer not to have to drink such disgusting liquor as the hon. Member had described. It was said that agriculturists would be injured if the Bill were to come into operation. He allowed that there were two sides to that question. It was asserted on the one hand that the nature of English barley would not allow it to be largely used unless it were mixed with sugar, and that the brewers would have to go to other countries to obtain barley which they could use. The answer to that was that the largest buyers of English barley were people who were brewing well within the limits of the Bill. The great bulk of the chambers of agriculture supported the Bill. The number of brewers had greatly decreased in recent years. In 1853 there were 45,000 brewers; now there were 4,180. The result of this Concentration of the trade in a comparatively few hands was that the brewers took such measures as would enable them to send out their beer in the shortest time after it had been brewed, and sought to avoid as far as possible the ordinary consequences of weather by the use of so-called science. He would be very unwilling, even for the advantage of agriculture, to identify himself with anything that might be harmful to the brewing trade; but he could not see that the interest of that trade would suffer under the Bill, because it proposed to set up a demand which it must be to the interest of the trade to supply. He therefore hoped that if the Bill passed, they would find in the result that it would be satisfactory to the consumer and not altogether unsatisfactory to the agricultural interest, and that brewing would still be found figuring as largely as ever among the trades of the country. His opinion was that the Bill would not entail any great or increased expenditure on the officers of the Inland Revenue, and if they were sufficiently safeguarded in that matter he could not help thinking that on the whole the House of Commons would accept the Bill for what it was intended to be, a moderate and useful measure which would help in securing pure beer.


said that the principle raised by this Bill had never been treated as a Party question. A similar Bill introduced in 1901, though opposed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was read a second time by a bare majority. The same Bill was introduced in 1902. It was again opposed by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and rejected. In 1902 it was proposed that the provisions of the Bill should be enforced by the Inland Revenue officers, but Sir Michael Hicks-Beach then showed that it was impossible for that department to carry out the penalty provisions of the Bill. The promoters of the present Bill had left out all proposals for its enforcement, and the result would be that it would not be enforced at all. He submitted that it was unwise for the House to pass a Bill imposing a penalty for the enforcement of which it provided no means. How was it to be discovered whether or not a brewer sold barley beer when a purchaser asked for it? The Inland Revenue officers said that they could not enforce the Bill, and there were no means provided of determining whether a purchaser was defrauded or not. Then Clause 3 provided that every customer should have the right in a licensed house to demand barley beer and should be supplied with it on demand. That was a compulsory clause. The licensed vic tualler had now not only the right to sell beer, but also the right to refuse to sell it to a particular customer, and the right to refuse was taken away by that clause. He did not think such a clause ought to be passed on Friday afternoon in a Bill introduced by a private Member. If brewers or licensed victuallers did not desire to sell barley beer to the public, all they had to do was to charge a prohibitive price, and therefore the public would not necessarily be able to get what they wanted under the Bill. Supporters of the Bill declared that barley beer was a better and a cheaper beer and that the public preferred it. If he accepted that statement as true, it appeared to him an extraordinary thing that anybody should refuse to sell to the public what they could sell more cheaply and what the public preferred, and should insist on selling to the public instead the worse and dearer product which they did not want. If the Bill passed strong pressure would naturally be put upon the Inland Revenue to carry out a duty which they said they were incapable of discharging, namely, of seeing that the brewers did not evade its provisions. In the interests of the Treasury and of the Inland Revenue also, therefore, he expressed an opinion unfavourable to the Second Reading. The argument that this Bill stood on the same footing as the Butter Bill rested on a misconception of the facts. Beer made from barley substitutes possessed exactly the same constituents as beer made from barley. The article produced was the same article, no chemical analysis discovering any difference. In the case of margarine something was produced which looked like butter, but which was not butter and which no chemical analysis could find to be butter That was the distinction between the two cases. There could be no suggestion of fraud in the sale of this beer, and the public seemed to be satisfied with it. On every ground no sufficient reason had been shown for this Bill's being read a second time.

MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)

in supporting the Bill, stated that in the constituency which he represented a number of people had died from drinking impure beer. What was still more important, for electoral purposes, a great number survived. So far as his memory served, something like this happened. When the friends of those who died from arsenical poisoning brought an action, the brewer said, "I am innocent. I used glucose." They then brought an action againt the glucose manufacturer. He said, "I am innocent. I used pure sulphuric acid." The sulphuric acid manufacturer said that there was "no more than the usual proportion of arsenic." Unfortunately there was, and by the use of these three different (or identical) substances used in the making of beer a large number of people suffered acute agony. He stood there for those people. Those who listened to the debate on the Address would know that they had all been returned for a large number of different reasons, but among the other questions was the question of pure beer. He wanted to insist upon the fact that they were a representative as well as a deliberative body, and there was not the slightest doubt that if they put this Bill to the votes of the people they would get an overwhelming majority in its favour. They were told that the populace did not understand the deep chemical mysteries by which the preparation of beer was ruled. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury had said with some force that it was impossible to tell the difference between beer brewed from malt and hops and beer brewed in other fashions. So far from that being the case, the hon. Member for Newport stated that he had been at some pains to obtain very good English beer by special contract. The hon. Member asked whether there was anyone else in the same circumstances. There was himself. He went to the town of Arundel, and he asked at the brewery whose honest and familiar smell he had known from childhood, "Can I have English beer made out of English malt and hops?" They said, "You can. It is a little more trouble, and you will have to pay a little more for it, but others are asking for it." Consequently he had it. It was not a question of chemical analysis. That would not tell them the difference between good beer and bad any more than mathematics would tell them the difference between a good picture and a bad. There were very few days when he could not say before he went to bed that he had drunk two pints of beer. Whether he drank beer made out of the elements of which beer had been made for hundreds of years or beer made out of chemical substitutes, made all the difference in the world to his health. No scientist in the world would persuade him out of his personal conclusions, as for instance, his religion, his taste in art, or his palate. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury had said that the Treasury could not enforce the Bill, that they would think it unwise in the interests of public economy to enforce it. The Treasury, he should have thought, existed for the people of England.


I did not say the Treasury would think it unwise to interfere. I said they had no means of interfering or enforcing the Bill.


Then let us alter that in Committee. When a man broke the law there were usually ways of punishing him. He had now and then broken the law, and he had not found it was very difficult for people to get at him. He did not know what it would cost to have inspectors popping in now and then to see how the beer was being made. No European nation except ourselves hesitated in the matter. People could not drink impure or chemical beer in Germany, but when they were having German beer in England they could hardly have anything else, because for the export trade no restrictions were thought advisable. The hon. Member for Lincoln had raised the temperance argument. Now there were those who thought, as do the Manhometans, that the drinking of fermented liquor was morally wrong. People who thought that were a very small and negligible minority of the English nation.


From what words of mine does the hon. Member deduce that inference?


I say it from a general knowledge of the hon. Member's opinions. He (Mr. Belloc) knew many men of comfortable lives who held that view, but on a programme of nothing but that they could not get elected for any constituency in England. On the other hand, there was a wide and reasonable organisation, to which he did not say he belonged, but for which he could not bat have sympathy, for doing something practical and immediate for interfering with the enormous evils which drink was causing to the country. The immediate suppression of the tied-house system was one plan. But he believed that purity of liquor had a great deal to do with it also. He would not say that no one had been brought to ruin by drinking pure English beer, or good red wine, or long-matured spirit; but the effect on character, the creation of a craving, and the general deterioration from the moderate to the heavy drinker were mainly produced, after the tied-house system, by the badness of the liquor consumed. He was bound to vote for the Bill. Details could be remedied later. At this moment they were voting on the simple principle whether people should be able to obtain a liquor which their forefathers at least found to be perfectly healthy, and on which the English race had been built up.

MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)

said that this Bill dealt with the favourite national beverage of the English people. In the part of England from which he came beer was beloved by the people whilst at their work beyond anything else. They regarded it as one of Heaven's best gifts to comfort men in their hard toil. In the early days of his recollection this beer was brewed in almost every house in rural districts—the mansion, the farmhouse, and the cottage—and the only obstacle to it was the malt tax. He was old enough to remember the long agitation that was carried on to obtain the repeal of that tax, and he was glad to remember that Richard Cobden, who was a Sussex farmer's son, was a strong advocate for its repeal. The tax was repealed by Mr. Gladstone in 1880, and transferred to beer; and since that time the materials for brewing had been available at half the prices that used to prevail. At the time Mr. Gladstone repealed the tax, he put a licence of 6s. a year on the cottage brewer, occupier of a house of £8, or under, and he had the privilege in the first Parliament to which he was elected, in company with his friend Mr. Jasper More, then Member for Shropshire, of going to the late Sir William Harcourt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and beseeching him in the name of the labourers of England to remove the tax from cottage brewers. Sir William Harcourt acceded to their request, and the act obtained the gratitude of the agricultural workers. He had no doubt that when he had passed away he would be remembered more for the part he had taken in making the national beverage more freely accessible to the labourers than for anything else he had done on earth. As regarded home-brewed beer this Bill was not wanted. He was thankful to say that in most of the cottages in Suffolk the people still brewed for themselves, and he believed that every man who did so was a sober and a temperate man. Those who did not brew for themselves had to obtain their beer from the public house; and that sort of beer got into the head and did harm, which was never occasioned by the consumption of homebrewed beer. He wished to enter his protest against the monstrous system prevailing in this country in regard to the sale of what was, if not one of the prime necessities of life, at least, one of the prime comforts to the working man. The result of the monopoly system was that people had to pay something like double the amount they ought to pay for their best loved drink. The price of brewing materials had gone down one-half, but the benefit went into the rich brewer's pocket, and the purchaser had no say in the matter either of the price or of the quality of the beer. In most cases the sale was in the hands of brewers who absolutely controlled the character of the drink. He did not regard this Bill as an ideal one. The ideal Bill would be one which would put the sale of the national drink under the control of the people themselves, so that they could regulate the price and quality. It was hoped when Mr. Gladstone transferred the tax from malt to beer that the beer-drinking people, who were the vast majority of the voters, would have something to say about that; and it was hoped to see the time when, as in the wine-drinking and cider-drinking countries or counties, the people in the beer-drinking counties would have their beer supplied without taxation, in open competition as milk or bread is, of a good quality, and at a cheap price. If supplied in that way it would not, he believed, be abused to the extent it was now, and good bread and good meat washed down with good wholesome beer at a cheap price would add very much to the comfort of the people. He did not like this Bill; it was a very crude measure. He did not see why they should limit the march of an industry; and if beer could be brewed more cheaply, and of a better quality from other materials, or by the addition of materials other than those from which their forefathers brewed, he saw no objection. He had made up his mind, however, to vote for the Bill as a protest against the monstrous system under which the national beverage was now sold.

MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

said that he represented a constituency to which this question was of some importance; but he was in this dilemma: if he voted against this Bill he would incur the severe displeasure of a great number of his constituents, and if he voted in favour of it, he might be the means of doing them a great injury. So between their displeasure and their welfare he was in somewhat of a difficulty. He wanted to ask the promoters of the Bill one or two questions. In the first place could they not stretch the limit in regard to the percentage of sugar, and make the limit of malt 70 or 75 percent.? He had talked with a farmer, who was a brewer, and also a public-house keeper, who had told him that he could not brew good beer from barley-malt grown in his district with such a limit as 85 per cent. It was all very well for the firm of Bass and other great brewers, who had a great name and could get top prices for their liquor, and so could give the highest price for barley; but how about the second-class brewer who had not the name, and if he could not buy the second class barley for beer-making, what was to become of the farmer? If he were to support a proposal which would preclude a great part of the barley grown from being used for brewing purposes, he would do his constituents much injury. If the promoters would lower the limit for barley malt to 70 or 75 per cent., it would materially alter his opinion of the Bill. He had not much confidence in temperance reform by law. This House had been making temperance reforms for the last 200 years, and every reform they passed led to a greater consumption of wine, beer, and spirits. Nor did he object to the Bill on the ground that it was protectionist. He was a determined free trader, but in this question they were dealing with public houses in which there was no such thing as free trade. If it were right that they should be restricted in number and licensed, it might also be right that the Government should say what kind of liquor should be sold if there were a demand for a certain quality. But coming to the details of the Bill he found great difficulty, and he hesitated to vote for the Second Reading unless he was certain the details were to be modified. He should be sorry to face any public-house keepers in his division if he voted for a Bill containing the great penalties now in the measure, because mistakes might be made which would lay the publican open to these heavy fines. They had heard a great deal about deleterious substances in beer. As had been pointed out, one of the great attributes of the water that had helped to make the great names of Bass, Allsopp, and other Burton brewers was that it came from a certain geological formation in the district containing sulphate of lime. If that were so, another brewer who had to get his water from new red sandstone should be allowed to add sulphate of lime to make his water identical with that of the brewers whose water came from soil of a suitable formation. Then he thought the Bill would be injurious to trade. He did not want it to be supposed that he was an advocate of the drink trade; but there were many in the drink trade in his constituency, and he hesitated to do them injury, which did no good to anyone else. The Bill would give a great advertisement to the foreign manufacturer, as was the case when the words "made in Germany" were required to be stamped on foreign made goods. He would like to ask how far the Adulteration of Foods Act could be made effective in dealing with that horrid stuff which made a man so thirsty after drinking a glass of beer. This Bill would not deal with the question of salt or some chemical which caused thirst and injury to those who drank it being mixed in the beer after it had left the brewer. He was entirely in favour of a light wholesome beer, and he hoped they would get over the Inland Revenue in that respect. It was proposed some years ago to use

saccharine in the making of beer; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not permit it, because it would make a light beer and so deprive the revenue of some of the money they now obtained. If this Bill were a good Bill he should be glad to help it, but he was not yet sure that it was. Before he actually decided how he should vote he should like to have an answer to the questions he had put. An objection which was certainly fatal to the Bill unless amended was the new principle which would be introduced into this country, namely, that a licensed house keeper should be compelled to sell alcoholic drink. There would certainly be an undertaking that that would be altered in Committee.

Question put.

The House divided;—Ayes, 109; Noes, 164. (Division List No. 17.)

Abraham, William(Cork, N. E.) Gardner. Col. A. (Herefordsh. S.) O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Ginnell, L. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Acland, Francis Dyke Grant, Corrie Palmer, Sir Charles Mark
Adkins, W. Ryland Hamilton, Marquess of Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. Hammond, John Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Harrington, Timothy Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.)
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Reddy, M.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Healy, Timothy Michael Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Hedges, A. Paget Renton, Major Leslie
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Helmsley, Viscount Ridsdale, E. A.
Beauchamp, E. Henry, Charles S. Roche, John (Galway, East)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hervey, F. W. F (Bury S. Edm'ds Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Bellairs, Carlyon Hobart, Sir Robert Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Belloc, Hiliare Joseph Peter R. Hunt, Rowland Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Bertram, Julius Kearley, Hudson E. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Billson, Alfred Kekewich, Sir George Soares, Ernest J.
Bridgeman, W. Clive Kennedy, Vincent Paul Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.
Cairns, Thomas Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. Starkey, John R.
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey Kilbride, Denis Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone,E.) Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark
Channing, Francis Allston Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Waldron, Laurence Ambrose
Clancy, John Joseph Layland-Barratt, Francis Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Cleland, J. W. Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesh'm Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent
Cogan, Denis J. Lundon, W. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Crean, Eugene Marks, Harry Hananel (Kent) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Delany, William Masterman, C. F. G. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Dillon, John Meehan, Patrick A. Williamson, G. H. (Worcester)
Dobson, Thomas W. Montagu, E. S. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Donelan, Captain A. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Duffy, William J. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Murphy, John Wodehouse, Lord (Norfolk, Mid)
Essex, R. W. Napier, T. B. Yoxall, James Henry
Everett, R. Lacey Newnes, F. (Notts., Bassetlaw)
Ffrench, Peter Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Courthope and Mr. Barnard.
Field, William Norman, Henry
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. O'Brien, Kendal (TipperaryMid
Fletcher, J. S. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Agnew, George William Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Hart-Davies, T. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Higham, John Sharp Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd
Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester) Hudson, Walter Robinson, S.
Barnes, G. N. Illingworth, Percy H. Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Beale, W. P. Jackson, R. S. Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Benn, W. (T'wr Hamlets, S. Geo. Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea Rose, Charles Day
Bowerman, C. W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Runciman, Walter
Brace, William Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Branch, James Laidlaw, Robert Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Brigg. John Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Scarisbrick, T. T. L.
Bright, J. A. Lamont, Norman Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Brocklehurst, W. D. Lawson, Sir Wilfrid Schwann, Chas. E. (Manchester)
Brooke, Stopford Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Sears, J. E.
Brotherton, Edward Allen Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh) Lehmann, R. C. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs) Lewis, John Herbert Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Lough, Thomas Spicer, Albert
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Lowe, Sir Francis William Stanger, H. Y.
Byles, William Pollard Lupton, Arnold Steadman, W. C.
Cameron, Robert Luttrell, Hugh Courtenay Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Carlile, E. Hildred Macdonald. J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Cherry, R. R. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Churchill, Winston Spencer M'Crae, George Sullivan, Donal
Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham) M'Kenna, Reginald Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley M'Killop, W. Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Maddison, Frederick Thornton, Percy M.
Collins. Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W Manfield, Harry (Northants) Tomkinson, James
Cooper, G. J. Marnham, F. J. Torrance, A. M.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Toulmin, George
Cox, Harold Menzies, Walter Verney, F. W.
Craik, Sir Henry Meysey-Thompson, Major E.G. Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Crooks, William Micklem, Nathaniel Vivian, Henry
Crosfield, A. H. Mooney, J. J. Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire
Crossley, William J. Moss, Samuel Wallace, Robert
Davies, David (Montgomery Co. Myer, Horatio Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan Nolan, Joseph Watt, H. Anderson
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Nussey, Thomas Willans White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galway Nuttall, Harry Whitehead, Rowland
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Partington, Oswald Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Pearce, William (Limehouse) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Duckworth, James Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Wiles, Thomas
Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Evans, Samuel T. Radford, G. H. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Findlay, Alexander Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd
Furness, Sir Christopher Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Redmond, William (Clare) Young, Samuel
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Rees, J. D. Younger, George
Goddard, Daniel Ford Remnant, James Farquharson
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Rendall, Athelstan TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Edward Sassoon and Mr. Paul.
Gulland, John W. Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Haddock, George R. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)

Words added.

Main Question, as a mended, put, and agreed to. Second Reading put off for six months.