THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
, who had given Notice to call attention to the sale of Intoxicating Liquors, said: My Lords, I think it right that in introducing the subject of which I have given Notice, I should tell the House why it is that at this period of the Session, instead of at an earlier one, we propose to introduce in your Lordships' House a Bill on the subject of the sale of intoxicating liquors. My Lords, it was the intention of the Government to bring this Bill forward in the other House of Parliament, and I think your Lordships will see it was natural we should have been desirous that the measure should be in the hands of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in whose office it was prepared; and especially as the subject had undergone many discussions in the House of Commons, we had thought that it would be better to have the Bill considered by that House in the first instance. But, my Lords, as the Session advanced it became apparent, from the pressure of Business in the other House, and the slow rate at which it was advancing, that if we waited for an opportunity of having the first discussions on the Bill taken in that House, we could scarcely expect to get 1312 it through in time to have it considered by your Lordships, so as to have any reasonable prospect of its becoming law this Session; and that if the promised Bill was not introduced we should have lain under the imputation of having no plan upon the subject. Accordingly, we resolved to introduce it here; and though I am sorry that we were not able to adhere to our original resolution, I must at the same time frankly admit that I think your Lordships' House is well qualified to consider the provisions of the measure in an impartial and independent spirit, and I hope that its introduction here will enable us to prepare such a measure as being sent to the other House of Parliament in a reasonable time, it may have a fair prospect of passing through both Houses and becoming law during the present Session. My Lords, in laying the Bill before your Lordships, I certainly shall not trouble you with a history of the licensing laws of this country; nor—though, perhaps, it would be more opportune—shall I attempt to go into all the details of the licensing laws as they at present exist. Those who have paid attention to the subject are aware that nothing can be more complicated—nothing more difficult to be understood—nothing more conflicting than the present laws and police regulations relating to the licensing and forms of licenses of public-houses and beerhouses. In order to give your Lordships an idea of the complexity of the subject, I will venture to give a list of the licenses now in force. There are no fewer than 12 different kinds of licenses—namely, wholesale spirit licenses, additional retail liquor licenses, additional retail spirit licenses, brewers' wholesale licenses, strong beer dealers' wholesale licenses, strong beer retail licenses, table beer licenses, general licenses, sweet wholesale licenses, and others. These are all separate and distinct licenses, granted under different laws, which consequently tended to the complexity of the subject. But, apart from the complexity of the subject, it is a very difficult one to deal with. It is one on which there has been great heat of controversy almost at all times. Although in one sense—not to make a bad joke—it is a dry subject, yet, on the other hand, it touches a very important question involving the morality of the people. Your Lordships are, no doubt, familiar 1313 with the extreme form in which the temperance movement has developed, itself on the other side of the Atlantic, under the name of the Maine Liquor Law. On that subject volumes have been written. I have read some of those disquisitions; but so great have been the controversies, and so various the opinions expressed, that although my own predelictions are freedom in trade, I should be disposed to say it failed, yet on an impartial consideration of all the testimony on the subject, it would be difficult to pronounce such an opinion. I do not think, at all events, that such an enactment would be likely to find favour in this country, or to meet with the approval of your Lordships' House. But there has been proposed a modified system of restriction, which has assumed various names. There is the Permissive Bill, and a measure has been submitted to the public with the somewhat strange name of "Permissive Prohibitory Bill"—a Bill which would give a permissive power to one part of the population, by means of which they may or may not prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors to the other portion. Then, there are various propositions on the other side of the question. There is, for instance, a strong movement in favour of the greatest possible license in the sale of liquor. Again, there is a determined but by no means unnatural desire on the part of those who are embarked in the liquor trade, to protect their own pecuniary interests from undue invasion. Now, my Lords, for my own part, I may at once say, that while I think no one can doubt the desirability, in point of morality, of putting a limit to the drinking of intoxicating liquors, I am not by any means one of those who think it good policy or fair to enable one part of the population who may be afraid of the evils arising from the use of intoxicating liquors, to prevent the other part of the population who only desire to use them in moderation from obtaining them for such moderate use. It seems to me the rule should be to allow a reasonable privilege to those who drink without excess. At the same time, I think we cannot allow an unrestricted sale of intoxicating drinks. Some years ago an opinion prevailed in favour of allowing free trade in such drinks, and in 1864 a Committee, known as Mr. Villiers's Committee, reported in favour of making the sale of intoxicating liquors free. I think 1314 there is much to be said in favour of that recommendation; but though others as well as myself may think there is a good deal to be said in favour of complete free trade in such liquors, I believe it must be admitted that public opinion at present is decidedly in favour of what I may call a well-regulated monopoly. We have, therefore, to combine two things. The system which now exists is one of regulated monopoly, and the question we have to consider is, by what means we can so improve our present laws as to remedy the abuses so justly complained of. The measure which, on the part of the Government, I am about to submit to your Lordships, is not to be regarded as of an ambitious nature, and that, I think, will be one of its chief recommendations. This is not a question which can be absolutely settled, by rigid theory. We must now proceed to introduce improvements where amendment is possible, and such as experience shows to be desirable; and we must be prepared to make further improvements should future experience tell us they are called for. The Bill will not seriously disturb existing interests, while, by restrictions in respect of licenses and by stringent police regulations, it will, we hope, prevent abuses in places where intoxicating drinks are sold. The first and principal point in the Bill to which I wish to call your Lordships' attention is the mode in which we propose to deal with existing licensing bodies. We propose, as regards the granting of new licenses, to adopt the following system. At present, as your Lordships are aware, licenses are granted by magistrates at what are termed Brewster Sessions. Under the Suspensory Bill of last year no licenses granted at such Sessions can take effect unless they are confirmed by the Secretary of State; but that Bill was passed for only one year, and will soon expire. We propose, in the case of counties, that all new licenses shall be granted by magistrates at Brewster Sessions, but that those licenses when so granted shall not be valid, unless they are confirmed by a committee appointed at Quarter Sessions for that special purpose. As regards the boroughs, we propose that where there are not 15 qualified justices licenses shall be granted by the borough justices as heretofore. Where there are 15 such justices, or more, the new licenses are to be 1315 granted by a committee to be appointed by the body of justices annually for that special purpose; but the licenses granted by this licensing committee are not to be valid until confirmed by the whole body of borough justices. We further propose that all new licenses so granted and so confirmed, whether by the county licensing committee or by the body of borough justices, shall not be valid unless they have received the final confirmation of the Secretary of State. The grounds on which I should recommend this proposal to the consideration of the House are these—It is evident that in districts so numerous as those in which there are Petty Sessions, though very often the magistrates are extremely competent in the performance of their work, yet there must occasionally be in so numerous a body magistrates who do not so well or so regularly perform their duty. We think that in every county, there would be no difficulty in forming from the whole body of magistrates, a committee of experienced gentlemen, who, by exercising a general control over the granting of new licenses, would insure uniformity of practice and proper control. When, however, we come to boroughs we find great difficulty in forming any body exactly capable of meeting the requirements of the case. There we have the reverse of the case of the counties, where you can have a small body to grant the licenses, and a committee of a large body to supervise. In boroughs, and especially in the large boroughs, the evil is, that there is a very considerable number of justices, that the granting of new licenses is determined by a fluctuating body, subject to many and conflicting influences, and that there is no certainty of a uniform system being pursued. The Government, therefore, deem it desirable that we should select from the whole body of the justices in a borough, a small body to be specially entrusted with the granting of new licenses, leaving them under the control of the whole body as regards the confirmation. In the case of the very small boroughs we propose to leave the justices to deal with them as at present, maintaining over them, as well as over the other licensing bodies, the check of the Secretary of State. I shall, perhaps, be asked why, having established this elaborate machinery, we continue the control of the Secretary of State. Well, we think it 1316 desirable to do so for these reasons—We maintain that there should be uniformity of practice throughout the country; and while we think these interposed bodies, as I may call them, will render the interference of the Secretary of State less necessary than at present, on the other hand, there is a great advantage in having a central control over the whole, at least for a time, in order that uniformity of practice may be secured. I hope, therefore, it may not be considered that the Government have taken a bad course in retaining the veto of the Secretary of State, which was found to work so well under the Suspensory Act of last year. These are the main features of the Bill with regard to the granting of new licenses. I am not aware of any other change, except a minor one which I will mention. In future, beyond the limits of the jurisdiction of the metropolitan police courts, stipendiary magistrates, where there are such magistrates, will have the power of acting at Brewster Sessions. I may add that this same system will apply in the metropolis, where it will be easily worked. Your Lordships will see that the metropolis, with respect to the granting of licenses, is under the jurisdiction of the magistrates of the different counties in which the various metropolitan districts lie. The Middlesex magistrates, as the House is aware, are a very numerous body, and out of that body we shall be able to provide a competent committee, consisting of a moderate number, for the purpose of granting these new licenses, subject, as I have stated, to confirmation by the whole body. And here let me point out that it is a very different thing indeed to entrust a large body with the power of confirming only, and to give them the original power of granting licenses. We give them simply a veto, but not the power of initiating licenses, which we reserve for a small and experienced body. Having dealt with the granting of new licenses, I now come to the important question of the renewal of licenses. As regards the renewal of licenses and all other questions decided at Brewster Sessions, in regard to which an appeal lies to Quarter Sessions, we propose to make no change in the jurisdiction. We think there is a wide difference between granting a new license, which is an administrative act, and the 1317 renewal of a license, or its refusal on the ground of some offence—an act which partakes more of a judicial character and which can he more properly exercised at Quarter Sessions as at present. As regards, therefore, the renewal of licenses and all questions arising out of the decisions at Brewster Sessions, except the questions concerning new licenses, we do not propose to disturb the existing system of appeal to Quarter Sessions. We have not attempted to introduce directly by any special enactment, the control of the ratepayers over the granting, transfer, or renewal of licenses. Though I draw a distinction, and the Bill draws a distinction, between the original granting of a license and its transfer or renewal, yet in point of law, a license is granted every year, the same questions arise, and a person may appear against each renewal or transfer. But although, as I have stated, we do not propose that the ratepayers should have any special right to exercise control over the exercise of discretion on the part of magistrates in the granting of new licenses, we do propose this change in favour of the general public—namely, that any person who objects to the transfer, renewal, or granting of a license may appear before the Brewster Sessions, or before the body entrusted with the granting of licenses in the first instance, and having so appeared, he shall have—what he has not at present—a right of appeal to Quarter Sessions or to the confirmng body; so that any ratepayer may appear to object in the first instance, and will have power of carrying his case by appeal to a higher Court. But, then, for the protection of publicans against frivolous and vexatious appeals, we provide not only that there shall be sufficient recognizances entered into by the appellant to pay the costs incurred, but that if the appeal be declared to be frivolous, the Court may award compensation for the expense and trouble to which the parties have been put. As regards the publicans, another provision of the Bill meets a case of hardship of which they make complaint under the present system of transfer and renewal; and we propose that there shall be a greater guarantee than they now possess that they shall not be harassed by unfair objections. At present when application is made for the transfer or renewal of a license, and such transfer or renewal is objected to, evidence 1318 may be given without any notice to the holder of the license, and may be given not on oath. That has been pointed out by the publicans to be a great hardship upon them, because they do not know what charges are about to be brought against them, and they have not the opportunity of testing the statements made against them on which the objections are grounded. Now, inasmuch as the renewal or transfer of licenses involves very serious consequences to the property of the individual, we think it reasonable that in all cases in which objections are made to a transfer or renewal, these objections shall be duly notified to the parties against whom they are made, so that they may have the opportunity of rebutting the accusations made against them, and that the evidence shall be given on oath. That will be a valuable protection to the publicans, while it will not at the same time in any degree diminish the safety of the public as regards due inquiry into offences which may be committed in public-houses. The remainder of the Bill consists for the most part of police regulations. These are mainly of the same nature as those contained in the Government Bill of last year. In the first place, we propose to consolidate all the present police regulations; and, in the next, we introduce a system of cumulative penalties. We propose that a register shall be kept in every licensing district of all licenses granted within that district, of the premises in respect of which they are granted, of all the persons holding them, and also of all forfeitures, convictions, and disqualifications, and other matters relating to the licenses on the register. We further propose that the cumulative effect of the penalties shall be this—that after a certain number of convictions for offences, which are directed by this Act to be recorded on the license, the fact itself shall operate as a forfeiture of the license, instead of leaving the forfeiture as now to the discretion of the magistrates. After two convictions have been recorded the third conviction will forfeit the license, and the licensee will be disqualified from holding a license for five years from the date of the third conviction; further, the premises in respect of which the forfeited license was granted will be disqualified from receiving any license for a term of two years. There are also offences against 1319 public order which will be visited by the penalty of perpetual disqualification for holding any license. I think it will be a very valuable provision that public-houses shall not be allowed to continue where grave offences have been committed by the holder against the licensing laws, showing that the house ought not to be continued by the person keeping it. There will, therefore, be three different punishments—the forfeiture of the license; in more grave cases, the disqualification of the person holding it for a certain time, and in very grave cases the disqualification altogether of the house and the holder. We propose that in those instances in which a public-house is used as a brothel a very severe penalty shall be imposed, following the disqualification, for such an offence. That is a provision which will, I am sure, meet with the approbation of the House. It is also proposed that a more stringent measure shall be taken against drunkenness on the premises. There is great difficulty in enforcing any penalty in those cases, and in order not to make the Bill in this respect inoperative, we propose that the burden of proof should lie on the publican to show that he had complied with the law, and that he did not supply the person with drink after he was really in a state of intoxication. The existing law against harbouring prostitutes and thieves is in a very unsatisfactory state, and much difficulty is found in carrying out the law in the metropolis. Penalties are imposed by the existing law upon persons who harbour prostitutes and thieves, and it was supposed that the law was sufficient to inflict a proper punishment upon publicans guilty of such acts. But it has been repeatedly held by legal authorities that it is necessary absolutely to prove that the prostitutes and thieves were in the house for the purpose of prostitution or thieving. It is obviously almost impossible to prove such an accusation, and the result is that these places continue, notwithstanding all the endeavours of the police, to harbour crime and prostitution. We propose in future that it shall not be necessary to prove the affirmative that the prostitutes and thieves were in those places for the purpose of crime or prostitution, but that the onus shall lie on the publican to prove that they were not there for these purposes. We propose to increase the fine for drunkenness from 1320 5s. to 10s., making those penalties somewhat more stringent than they are at present. Lastly, we propose to deal with a subject on which I am sure your Lordships will agree that Parliament ought to legislate—I mean the adulteration of liquor. Nothing is more discreditable than the adulteration now practised. I dare say some of your Lordships, like myself, are not teetotallers, and occasionally drink beer. If, as sometimes happens, I drink public-house beer, I find something so peculiar about that beverage, as compared with the same beer which I procure directly from the brewer, that I have generally thought it better to avoid it. A noble Friend near me whispers the name of "Bass." I am willing to admit that some very good Bass or other bitter beer is to be obtained from the public-house. At the same time, public-house beer generally does not seem to be exactly the compound of malt and hops which generally goes by that name. I have here a curious statement, which I believe to be perfectly authentic, though it is rather too long to read, as to the mode in which beer is usually adulterated. ["Read!"] If your Lordships wish to hear it, I will read the statement—The system of adulteration or mixing is as follows:—The cellarman taps a barrel of beer received from the brewer, and draws off a certain quantity, varying from one-seventh to more than one-third (30 gallons from a butt of 84 gallons) of the measurement of the cask. He then takes a quantity of 'foots'—a black, coarse kind of sugar, which costs 4d. per lb., and of which a specimen, taken from the stock in a cellar, is submitted herewith—which he dissolves in warm water in a vessel, and pours through the bung-hole into the cask, then nearly fills up the cask with cold water, and adds the requisite quantity of a mixture called 'finings,' of which a specimen is submitted. It is supposed to be made from the skins of soles and certain portions of other fish. It is supplied free of cost to every publican.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I find I left out a word or two accidentally. It is supplied "by the brewers" free of cost to every publican.A little salt, and in some houses a small piece of copperas, is dissolved and added, and the whole is then violently agitated with a 'stirrer,' and the cask is tightly bunged down. The beer is ready for sale in about two hours after the process is completed. After it is mixed it must be drawn off within two days, or it becomes undrinkable. The quicker the draught, the 1321 more opportunity is there for successful adulteration. The use of copperas is not general; its object is to give and retain a nice brown head or froth, and this it will do. Regular beer-drinkers would not drink the beer if it were supplied to them thick, as it is when received from the brewer, and the tastes of persons have to be consulted, and the beer mixed differently in different neighbourhoods. The proportion of ingredients is the same, but the quantities, of course, vary with the amount of adulteration. The more water that is added, the more 'foots,' &c., must likewise be mixed and also added. Six pounds weight of 'foots' to 12 gallons of water, and about a gallon and a half of 'finings' to each cask, are the usual proportions. Salt and copperas are added according to the ideas or practice of individuals, founded on their experience. The adding of these ingredients is not considered by traders in any other light than as a necessity of the trade to enable them to live. The brewers use large quantities of sugar in producing the beer. Why should the publican not add a little more? Ales and stout are not mixed with water, but the "finings' are used. The system of adulterating the higher priced ales and stout is by adding those of a lower price, mixing at the time of sale by drawing from different taps.That is the system which, as I am told, exists, and I have not made this statement without good grounds. Of course, I know that there are perfectly honest brewers and publicans; but I fear in that trade—and not in that trade alone—there is a considerable amount of adulteration, and I am quite sure that all the honest brewers and publicans will welcome, in common with the consumer, any reasonable provisions for preventing such adulteration. The next point to which I shall call the attention of your Lordships is one of considerable importance. It relates to the hours of closing. The present hours of closing are very complicated indeed, and I fear I cannot make myself intelligible without stating what they are. The present law is, that within the limits of the Public-house Closing Act of 1864—namely, the City of London, the metropolitan police district, corporate boroughs, and other districts adopting the Act—public-houses are closed on week-days from 1 A.M. to 4 A.M.; while in other places public-houses may be open all night long. In London and Westminster and in the metropolitan boroughs, beerhouses and refreshment houses are closed on week-days between midnight and 5 A.M. Within the bills of mortality, and in places containing a population of more than 2,500, these houses now close from 11 P.M. to 5 A.M., and elsewhere they close from 10 1322 P.M. to 5 A.M. On Sundays all these different liquor shops, as I may call them, close from midnight on Saturday to 12.30 on Sunday afternoon; again from 3 to 5 P.M. on Sunday afternoon; and from 11 P.M. on Sunday till 4 A.M. on Monday. We propose to simplify the hours of closing, and increase their length considerably. We propose that the closing shall be every week-day from the closing hour at night up to 7 A.M.—so that in no case shall they open before 7 o'clock in the morning. If within four miles of Charing Cross, we propose that the closing hour shall be midnight. In the metropolis, therefore, within the four mile radius, the closing will be from midnight till 7 A.M. Elsewhere within the metropolitan police district, and in towns of not less than 10,000 inhabitants, the closing hours will be from 11 P.M. to 7 a.m.; elsewhere they will be from 10 P.M. to 7 A.M. Thus the closing hours will be from 10 to 7, from 11 to 7, and from 12 to 7, according as the places are large or small. On Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day, and on any Fast or Thanksgiving Day, we propose that in all places the closing shall be up to 1 o'clock in the afternoon.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I do not mean the Fast Days recognized by the Church, but those specially appointed by law. They will, of course, be rare, but it will be necessary to provide for them. On those occasions, as on Sundays, Good Fridays, and Christmas Days, the closing will be from the previous closing at night till 1 in the afternoon; again, from 3 to 6 in the afternoon, and at night the closing will be at 11, 10, or 9, according as the same houses are closed at 12, 11, and 10 on week-days. The result of these changes is to somewhat increase the stringency of the closing hour, but not to close public-houses completely on Sundays as some persons have proposed. These are the principal police regulations in the Bill; and the question is, how they are to be enforced. We propose the following system—that special police inspectors throughout the country shall be appointed by the ordinary bodies which now appoint the police—the magistrates in counties and in boroughs—and that it should be a requirement of the law that there should 1323 be not less than one inspector for the purpose to every 100,000 inhabitants. In many parts of the country there already exists a sufficient number of police to enable the authorities to tell off one for the performance of those duties; and, in fact, our belief is that this is done at present. In other parts of the country there is not a sufficient force, but we propose it shall be a matter of general obligation that there shall be an inspector for every 100,000 inhabitants to overlook public-houses and beerhouses, and to see that the law is enforced. It will be a condition of obtaining the Treasury allowance under the Police Act that such an inspector shall be appointed. He will be subject in all respects to the same local authorities as the police are now, and his pay and allowances will be defrayed by them. These are the main provisions of the Bill. There are some points, however, not to be found in the Bill, and therefore I had better allude to them. We have not inserted in the Bill any rating qualification for public-houses. At present there is a rating qualification for a beerhouse, varying from £8 to £11, according to the population. It has been suggested that the same system shall be extended to public-houses; I think, however, there would be great difficulty in framing any scale of rental which would be applicable to various parts of the country, and to the varying circumstances of districts. We do not propose to abolish the existing rating qualification of beerhouses, because we believe that a complete enforcement of the present law may lead to a reduction in the number of such houses which have improperly obtained licenses; but we propose to give the magistrates the power of causing a valuation to be made of any beerhouse. We believe it will be found that a considerable number of low beerhouses have obtained licenses without possessing the rating qualification required by law, and that when the magistrates come to inquire into the subject, a considerable number of these beerhouses will cease to hold the licenses they now possess. The consequence will be the with holding of licenses from a number of these low houses. Whether it may be advisable to require a qualification for all houses for the sale of liquor may be a question for future consideration, but we do not propose to deal with it at 1324 present. I have now endeavoured to state to your Lordships the main provisions of the measure as briefly and clearly as I could, and I am not aware that I have omitted any of its leading provisions. The Bill is one of very great detail; and I have only selected the principal points, for it would have been impossible for me to go into minute points, without wearying your Lordships with too long a statement. The Bill may be considered moderate in its character, but at the same time I trust it may have the effect of considerably diminishing the tendency in many parts of the country to an undue multiplication of public-houses and other houses for the sale of liquors. I trust that it will simplify the present law, and at the same time that it will not interfere with those fair claims to the right of property which now exist. When I say that, I must not be understood to admit that the holder of a license has any strict property right in his license; but I think he has such a customary enjoyment of the license that it should not be taken from him without fair and just reason being shown. At the same time I should very strongly deprecate any idea of strengthening in any way the monopoly now possessed by existing public-houses. While we respect those undefined rights now possessed by the holders of that vast amount of property, we may fairly require them to leave in our hands all the power we now have of granting or refusing their licenses. I shall add nothing further except to bespeak for the Bill from your Lordships a fair and impartial consideration; and I am quite certain if the experience and knowledge of this House be brought to bear on it, we may produce such a measure as will be satisfactory to the country, and will tend to the settlement of the question. In order to give your Lordships time for consideration, I will fix the Motion for the second reading for the 2nd of May.
§ Bill for regulating the sale of Intoxicating Liquor presented.—(The Earl of Kimberley.)
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
said, the House was deeply grateful to the noble Earl for the clear and able statement which he had made on a subject of so much importance, and containing, no doubt, very complicated details. In following the noble Earl he had not been 1325 able altogether to appreciate all the points he had brought forward; but he could assure the noble Earl, on the part of those who sat on that side of the House, that the fair and impartial consideration which he had asked for the Bill was one which they would have the greatest pleasure in giving. He had not risen for the purpose of making any hostile comments on the provisions which the noble Earl had stated in detail, but because he felt it would be hardly courteous to the noble Earl if he were to be altogether silent. At the same time, he would avail himself of the opportunity of pointing out two or three matters with respect to the working of which he entertained some doubt. He did not mean that he should feel called upon to offer any opposition on these points; his object now was merely to call attention to them. At the commencement of his address the noble Earl referred to the multiplicity of licenses at present existing for the government of public-houses—the noble Earl said there were no fewer than 12 distinct licenses now in force; but he did not gather from the noble Earl's remarks that he meant to reduce their number, or make them less complicated than they were at present. When the noble Earl alluded to the mode in which licenses were given by magistrates in Petty Sessions, he said that one of the objects of the Bill would be to have a committee appointed by the Quarter Sessions, which would have the power to revise the licenses granted by the magistrates in Petty Sessions, and that this committee should be appointed annually. He feared this would be found a rather cumbrous piece of machinery, and in large counties he doubted whether the magistrates appointed by the Quarter Sessions would be as good judges of the wants and necessities of the districts in which the licenses were to be granted as the magistrates in Petty Sessions. He had not gathered from the noble Earl how the cases were to be laid before the committee, and upon what grounds the persons concerned would have an appeal to the higher tribunal; neither did he understand whether it was proposed that this committee should sit at stated periods to hear appeals. The power granted to the ratepayers to appeal, and the notification to be given to the persons appealed against, were fair and useful provisions; it was only 1326 just that a person against whom a complaint was made should have an opportunity of hearing what was said against him. There was another point which was one of very considerable difficulty. Their Lordships could have but one object in view with respect to these houses—namely, that they should be conducted in a regular and proper manner, and that neither prostitutes nor thieves should be harboured in them. At the same time, to have the onus probandi thrown on the owners of the houses, that the prostitutes or thieves were not there for an unlawful purpose seemed rather hard measure, for it might be impossible for a publican, however innocent, in many cases to bring forward evidence to prove it. The account which the noble Earl had given of the adulteration of liquor, would almost make a man think twice before touching a glass of publican's beer again; the noble Earl, however, contented himself with a description of the adulteration, without saying how he meant to deal with it. There was one point to which he must demur. He feared 7 o'clock in the morning would be found an extremely late hour for opening, particularly in the agricultural districts, where the labouring man rose early, and where, being constantly sent out with carts and horses, he might require a glass of beer and a bit of bread and cheese for breakfast before 7 o'clock. When their Lordships reflected, too, on the number of persons who came with carts to the fruit market in Covent Garden at a very early hour, they would feel that the provision in the Bill would be too stringent as regarded the metropolis. There was only one other point to which he would call attention, and that was the compulsory appointment of police inspectors in counties. Such a provision would fall very heavily on some counties, where, in order to keep down the rates, the number of police was now at the very lowest point consistent with the repression of crime, and he thought the expense ought not to come out of the county funds.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, they had not interfered with the multiplicity of licenses, because they considered it unnecessary to do so, as they would all have to come before the one licensing body. He agreed with the noble Duke that there might be an objection to the appointment of one committee of revision 1327 for a very large county—in some counties it would be necessary to have more than one body. He also agreed with the noble Duke as to the greater local knowledge that was likely to be possessed by the magistrates in Petty Sessions, who would have to deal with the question in the first instance; but a revising body was necessary, in order to ensure that uniformity of practice and that assiduity and prudence which had not always marked the operations of the magistrates. These, however, and the hours of closing, and other points of detail, would be better dealt with in Committee.
§ LORD REDESDALE
inquired in what manner the rating of public-houses was to be revised. Were the magistrates not to be satisfied with the parish rating?
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, the magistrates would not interfere with the parish assessment. If they were not satisfied with the annual value placed upon the houses, they might cause a special valuation to be made for their own satisfaction.
§ LORD REDESDALE
thought that the magistrates would consider this discretion given to them as one very difficult for them to exercise.
§ Bill read 1a; to be printed; and to be read 2a on Thursday, the 2nd of May next. (No. 78.)