HL Deb 08 June 1848 vol 99 cc500-1

THE EARL OF HARROWBY moved the Second Reading of the Sale of Beer Regulation Bill.


considered that this Bill was one of great importance. The subject of the sale of spirituous liquors on the Sunday had of late been brought under their Lordships' notice by petitions; but he thought that any one who considered the matter would feel that it would be most unjust and oppressive to prohibit the sale of beer and other liquors on the Sunday. Their Lordships were aware that there was at present a direct prohibition, under penalties, of the sale of liquors on Sunday during the hours of divine service. The Act of Parliament which prohibited the opening of taverns and public-houses until after one o'clock on the Sunday in the metropolis, had certainly had a most beneficial effect in repressing crime, and in improving the moral condition of the people; and Mr. Rushton, the police magistrate of Liverpool, stated that the same result had followed the adoption of a similar regulation in that town. As the law now stood, persons to whom licenses were granted were prohibited from selling liquors during the hours of divine service; and if they violated that condition they were subjected to penalties which were immediately recoverable. He would therefore suggest to the noble Earl that he should propose the repeal of all penalties for violating the existing law, or the effect of this Bill would be to subject tavern keepers to double penalties.


considered this a very useful and safe Bill. No one could deny that the Sabbath was now much more strictly observed than was the case thirty or forty years ago; but he would recommend their Lordships not to overdo legislation with respect to Sabbath observances. He considered it of the greatest importance that the Sabbath should be duly observed; but he believed that nothing was more likely to prevent that observance than ill-advised legislation, which might interfere with the just relaxations of the people. He thought it would be convenient to refer the Bill to a small Select Committee.


observed, that in London the principle upon which the present Bill was founded, had been proved by experience to act in a most admirable way, and he saw no reason why it should not be extended further.


said, he hoped that the Bill would be extended to Scotland. In fact, the whole system of licensing in that country required revision, for not only at grocers' shops, but at turnpike gates, spirits were sold. It had had a most demoralising effect. At these places change was often given in the shape of glasses of whiskey, if the parties desired it.


said, he believed there was no part of the country which more required change of the laws in this respect than Scotland.

Bill read 2a.

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