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The Ashburton Guardian. Manga Est Veritas et Prevalebit TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1881. The Licensing Bill.

'"TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 6.30 p.m.],

, i To assert that the Licensing Bill now Before the Parliament and in coarse of amendtnent dr'alteration, is an unsatisfactory "compound of wisdom and folly, would be only to state what would be true of every licensing Bill which has ■ been passed ip* feiiher Great Britain or ,aqy of her colonies for the last fifty I'jjpear&f * ’Arid the reason is obvious! In 'legiiiatirig on' this difficult sribject, little attempt is made at calm, sober, equitable consideration, but two oppos-, ihg parties, representing respectively 'tbe views of the teetotallers and the interests of the publicans fight for victory, eager Ip score,any point! which may ■rivet* sp?u> to Bei^/avq| ot. tlieir, respeqiftve sicles. And to rpafe the matter*, qrj,that-side, which is /certainly 'abided by motives, there 1 is by far the greater ignorance. For what" teetotaller, ,no matter how ready to deiseaS;bht'wi:?'W ities ° { flty ■ tfaffice, would care to Ascertain at first' ‘Band - by his presence on the spot, *hi I ,! , thri■*;bars arid ,bafck publiri holises? It wqbld* <Lrespectriblri l for either to be seem the best*bpkriowr

first sight only a practical realisation of the principal of local option, and of govern flints* according to the-views of tfce majority. But what is-it in reality ?_ Nothing,.more nor less than the wholesale manufacture of perjured magistratesr-: r To -make tlse‘ appointment of those who actually- occupy' the position of judges depend on the heated passions of a popular election, where each party, the publican and the teetotaller, take, the usual course, and bring forward as candidates their most trusted men, is to appoint those who are already pledged before they go on the Bench to a particular course. Of j what account would justice, or the merits of the case, be before such a Court ? What publican, however highly ; he might think of Sir William Fox or Mr Robert Stout personally, would care to make application for a new license to either of these gentlemen when on the Bench ? And on the other hand, what body of teetotallers would care to brin£ their objections, no matter how genuine, to a hew license before a Bench nominated entirely by a little knot of publicans and their friends? Yet this is what would be constantly happening ; in one locality one of these results would be what would occur, in another locality the other. Oaths to administer law or justice would be of no account whatever. The very men who should be excluded from the Bench' on account of being partizans would be those, and those alone, who would be always there.'

In other directions besides that men tioned is the current ignorance respect ing the details of hotel business working most mischievously in the amendments of licensing bills. If a genuine amendment of value is brought forward, unless it has become one of the Shibboleths of partizan warfare, it is almost sure to be thrown out. An illustration of this principle occurred in the reception of Sir William Fox’s amendment, making it compulsory on publicans to keep tea, coffee, and similar drinks on hand. Now. every one who knows anything at all about the subject is aware that these beverages furnish about the best antidotes that can be administered in cases of hard drinking of wine, beer, or spirits, and that unless themselves taken in very large quantities they are quite innoxious. It is also well known that they would very frequently be taken, if procurable at public house bars, by those whom a foolish custom of society in colonial life almost compels to drink. That their consumption, either in or outside public houses, tends to the promotion of tem.perance cannot for a moment be questioned. And if it be urged that to make it compulsory for hotel-keepers to keep these liquors on hand is an unnecessary interference with freedom of trade and the liberty of the the reply is obvious and unanswerable, that this has been already done in the case of public house trade, by any and every licensing act that has yet been passed. Nevertheless this sensible amendment was thrown out by a large majority of the members present in the House of Representatives, even the larger number of those who represented the views of the teetotallers, for some reason, or lack of reason, opposing it. It is on account of such follies as these to which we have referred, on account of the ignorance of the details of the liquor traffic which it exhibits, and on account of the new evils which it will create, that, in spite of some excellencies, we are quite indifferent as to whether the Amending Licensing Act passes through Parliament, is thrown out, orj as is most likely, abandoned.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810628.2.6

Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. Manga Est Veritas et Prevalebit TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1881. The Licensing Bill., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 381, 28 June 1881

Word Count
802

The Ashburton Guardian. Manga Est Veritas et Prevalebit TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1881. The Licensing Bill. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 381, 28 June 1881

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