HL Deb 03 June 1862 vol 167 cc279-84

Order of the Day for the House to be put into a Committee on the Public-houses (Scotland) Acts Amendment Bill read.


, in moving that the House go into Committee, said, that the measure was one of great importance, and was introduced mainly in consequence of the Royal Commission which was issued on this subject some time since. The Bill had been carefully considered in the other House, and contained many relaxations of the old law, as well as provisions for the suppression of the practice of illicit sale of intoxicating liquors. The subject was one on which legislation was urgently needed, and he trusted, that notwithstanding some opposition had been manifested, the measure would be allowed to proceed.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee on the said Bill.


said, he thought it inconvenient and unbusiness-like to discuss the principle of a Bill and then to go forthwith into a consideration of its clauses upon the same evening. The measure involved a principle of some novelty as regarded Scotland. It gave very arbitrary powers to magistrates to relax the rules of evidence, imposed on the police the duty of reporting against the keepers of public-houses, and afforded the keepers of those houses very scanty opportunity of rebutting the charges that might he made against them. Mr. Munroe, the town clerk of Glasgow, and Mr. Smart, the superintendent of police in that city, had furnished him with evidence tending to show that the very stringent provisions included in the Bill were not necessary. He did not desire to obstruct the measure; but he believed that if a little further time were given for its consideration before proceeding with the discussion of its clauses, it might be passed this Session in a much more perfect shape. He begged, therefore, to move that the House resolve itself into Committee on the Bill on Friday, the 13th of June.

Amendment moved, to leave out "now," and insert "on the 13th instant."


hoped the noble Earl would not divide the House against going into Committee that night. Their Lordships generally were, he believed, as ready to enter into the discussion of the provisions of the Bill now as they would be a fortnight hence. The measure was the same in principle as Home Drummond's Act, and it merely sought to amend the defects which had crept into the details of the existing law.


also expressed a hope that the Amendment would not be pressed. The Bill had been before Parliament and the country for a very long time, and it introduced no new principle. For his own part, he had had ample time to consider all the details of the measure.


regretted that this Bill, which was to remedy the evils created by the restrictive measures which had been for years in operation in Scotland, did not carry out all the recommendations of the Royal Commission. He particularly referred to that recommendation of the Royal Commissioners to enable certain houses to remain open after eleven o'clock at night. What was called "the bonâ fide travellers" clause had been a fruitful cause of evil, and had led to many infractions of the law. The evidence before the Commissioners also proved that the number of unlicensed houses had increased after the passing of the Forbes-Mackenzie Act. There was a good deal that was new in the Bill, and that required careful consideration; and therefore he hoped his noble Friend would succeed in his Motion for the postponement of the Committee.


said, he would not press his Amendment.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn: Then the original Motion was agreed to: House in Committee accordingly.

Clauses 1 to 13 agreed to.

Clause 14 (Police to report Persons licensed from whose Premises Persons in a State of Intoxication had been seen frequently to issue, or against whom there is other Cause of Complaint).


objected to its being left to the discretion of the police to determine whether a person was or was not in a state of intoxication, and moved the omission of the clause.

Moved, to omit Clause 14.

On Question, Whether the said Clause shall stand part of the Bill? their Lordships divided:—Contents 39; Not-Contents 17: Majority 22.

Westbury, L. (L. Chancellor). Durham, Bp.
Lincoln, Bp.
Oxford, Bp.
Richmond, D. Rochester, Bp.
Bath, M. Blantyre, L.
Calthorpe, L.
Amherst, E. Digby, L.
Belmore, E. Foley, L.
Desart, E. Moore, L. (M. Drogheda.)
Doncaster, E. (D. of Buccleuch and (Queensberry.)
Polwarth, L.
Rayleigh, L.
Granville, E. Redesdale, L.
Haddington, E. Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.) [Teller.]
Home, E. [Teller.]
Morton, E. Silchester, L. (E. Lonqford.)
Powis, E.
Shaftesbury, E. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Shrewsbury, E.
Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
De Vesci, V.
Sydney, V. Wynford L.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Saint Germans, E.
Newcastle, D. Dungannon, V.
Somerset, D. Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)
Normanby, M. Melville, V.
Stratford de Redcliffe, V.
Airlie, E. [Teller.]
Camperdown, E. [Teller.] Abinger, L.
De Grey, E. Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)
Minto, E.
Portarlington, E. Chesham, L.
Crewe, L. Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Egerton, L.
Granard, L. (E. Granard.) Stanley of Alderley, L.
Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Overstone, L. Wodehouse, L.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 15 to 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 (Persons falsely representing themselves to be Travellers liable in a Penalty).

A question arising as to what constituted a bonâ fide traveller,


thought that all the difficulty arose from the attempt to make people moral by Act of Parliament. He conceived that it would be better to substitute reason and conscience for the stringent provisions of the Bill.


understood the noble Lord to argue that the Legislature should in no manner take measures for limiting the sale of spirits with the view of ameliorating the habits of the people. That was not, however, the principle hitherto acted on by the Parliament of this country, which had imposed restrictions on the sale of excisable liquors, partly for the protection of the revenue, and partly for the sake of the morals of the people.


objected that this was a more restrictive principle than any that had yet been introduced in legislation upon this subject, and moved that the clause should be struck out.


said, that the law in England proceeded on a sound principle. It endeavoured to take care that public-houses, where spirits, wine, and beer were sold, should not become disorderly houses, but it did not attempt to regulate the morals of the population.


said, that the clause would be a protection to the Scotch innkeepers, by whom it was favoured. The present law punished them if they served excisable liquors within the prohibited times to any but bonâ fide travellers; and the clause under consideration made persons who wilfully misrepresented themselves to be bonâ fide travellers liable to penalty.


feared that the drunkenness which prevailed in Scotland was due in a, great measure to the fact that the people were deprived of all opportunities of relaxation.


said, he was opposed to the clause, fearing that if it were passed innkeepers would become careless as to whether parties were bonâ fide travellers or not, and would serve anybody who said he was a traveller.


observed, that the clause was introduced in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commissioners.

On Question, Whether the said Clause shall stand part of the Bill? their Lordships divided:—Contents 33; Not-Con-tents 24: Majority 9.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 23 to 32 agreed to.


proposed to omit the four following clauses, which constituted a court of appeal, and to leave the appeal to the Quarter Sessions.

Clauses 33 to 36 struck out.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

Report of Amendments to be received on Tuesday, the 17th instant; and Bill to be printed as amended [No. 96].