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the same time. The size of the partitions prevents a voter from overlooking his neighbour either at his side or in front of him. Each of these compartments was supplied with a pencil, secured by a string, like those in the telegraphic departments at the Post Office.
The Conservatives appeared to be infinitely more active with their agents at the various polling-booths than the Liberals, and both tried to get an insight into the way affairs were going by means of tickets. Each elector had sent to him previously—the Conservatives ostensibly began this, and the Liberals followed them -a ticket with a request that he would vote for Holker or German, as the case might be, and that after voting he would, if a Conservative, hand it over to the agent who would be at the door, and if a Liberal, would give it up at the nearest committee-room. The Conservative agents had blue cards fastened in front of their hats, and upon each card there was printed the words “ Conservative agent.” As a rule, two of them stood close to the door of egress at each polling-booth. In one instance
a couple of them managed to get into a booth, but being detected by a Liberal, were ordered out. In other instances, the Conservative agents were upon the “premises” of the polling-booth, and at one of the booths a couple were seen in the back-yard within a foot of the door leading out of it, their object being to ask for the tickets of the voters as they left the room. The Liberals did not push themselves so keenly within the precincts of the booths, but seemed to be anxious to get as near as they could. In the end, the ticket system got thoroughly confused,—Liberals, in mistake, gave their tickets to the Conservative agents; Conservatives gave them to those on the Liberal side, so that it became impossible accurately to test what was being done by the plan. The voting went on rather slowly; four voters were admitted at a time to each booth, and after receiving their papers, proceeded to the "stalls” behind the officials, marked their papers, and then returned, putting them into a large sealed tin box, with a narrow slit at the top, as they passed out. The general business was very quietly transacted; there was even a dead calm about it at times. Some of the working-men, of the ordinary labouring class, seemed to have no proper idea at all of the Ballot; odd ones of them would, on entering the booth, ask the constable at the door where they had to tell the name of the candidate they wanted to vote for, and others were very stupid in their folding up of the voting papers. They crumpled them up occasionally, or doubled them in such a way as to hide the stamp at the back. This bungling was chiefly the work of the more illiterate classes. One or two cases of personations were early reported; but the guilty parties made a clear escape. There has been more of novelty than of difficulty in working the Ballot here; and, excepting the cases of stupidity mentioned, no awkwardness or hitch has occurred. As the morning advanced the booths became thronged; and at noon the work of vote-recording was at its greatest pitch of activity; but the increase in it then in no way deranged the general mechanism adopted. From about eleven o'clock in the forenoon till five this afternoon the streets have been very crowded, the bulk of the people being of the working-class order. Even the most sapient and experienced could not tell which way the wind was blowing'-could not tell whether German or Holker was ahead. There was, however, a very general impression among Conservatives that their candidate was first, and a very strong apprehension on the part of the Liberals that this really was the case. Bills, &c., professing to show the state of the poll were occasionally put out, but only the most stupid placed any reliance upon them. Cheers and counter cheers have occasionally been heard in the streets as the respective candidates and their friends have been noticed passing along them. There has been no display of colours, no bands of music; and even in St. John's ward an astonishing degree of order and sobriety has been observable. The Ballot, whatever it may not effect, has clearly from to-day's experience conduced in a striking degree to the general sobriety and good order of the people. There is much talk about bribery and some about personation.
At 8.30 the result of the election was announced by a card at the Town Hall. The figures were Holker 4542–German 3824: showing, as there are 10,214 eligible voters on the register, that 1848 had not recorded their votes.
The result had, by some means, been forecast by the Conservatives after the closing of the poll, with curious exactness.
They had calculated that their majority could not be less than 709."
Much greater excitement was caused in the country by the Government Licensing Bill, which was introduced by Lord Kimberley in the House of Lords, and directed to the repression of excess or disorder, and of adulteration. In introducing the Bill, he began by stating the reasons which had induced the Government to introduce the Bill in their Lordships' House. Declining to go into the history of the Licensing Laws, he said that anything more complicated or difficult could hardly be conceived. No less than 12 descriptions of licence were in force at the present moment. Glancing at the various agitations carried on by those who desired an alteration of the law, he said that the opinion of the country was in favour of a regulated monopoly. The Bill which, on the part of the Government, he had now to explain did not claim to be an ambitious measure. It would not seriously disturb existing interests, but its effect would be to limit the number of licences, and to prevent, by stringent police regulations, the abuses of the present public-house and beer-house system. Under the Suspensory Bill of last Session 'no new licences could be granted by the Brewster Sessions unless they were confirmed by the Secretary of State. The first part of the present Bill regulated the granting of new licences. In counties all new licences would be granted, as at present, by the justices in Brewster Sessions ; but they would not be valid until confirmed by a special committee appointed at Quarter Sessions. In boroughs the practice would vary according to the number of justices. In boroughs where the number of justices does not exceed nine, new licences will be granted, as at present, on their recommendation. In all other boroughs no new licences are to be granted, except upon the recommendation of a committee to be appointed by the justices, and whose grants should be confirmed by the full court. In all cases, whether in counties or boroughs, no new licences will be valid until approved by the Secretary of State, whose confirmation had been found to work well in the Suspensory Act, and would insure uniformity of control throughout the country. The system applied to the boroughs could be easily worked in the metropolis. Licences were at present issued by the magistrates of the different counties forming the metropolis. They would appoint a moderate number as a committee to grant new licences, and the only duty of the full body would be to confirm or otherwise the acts of the committee. The granting of new licences was an administrative act, but their renewal was more of a judicial character, and the Bill proposed no change in the present system. All questions regarding the renewal of licences would continue to be dealt with at Brewster Sessions, subject to an appeal to Quarter Sessions. The Bill gave ratepayers no direct control over the issue of new licences, but any person who objected to the transfer, renewal, or grant of a licence might appear before the Brewster Sessions, with an appeal to Quarter Sessions, or to the confirming body in the case of a new licence. Publicans would be, however, protected against frivolous and vexatious appeals. The Bill would consolidate all the present police regulations, and include some of those in Mr. Bruce's Bill of last year. A register would be kept of serious and repeated offences on the part of publicans and beerhouse keepers, and in the graver cases the certificate would determine of itself without any action or option on the part of the magistrates. The Bill increased the penalty of drunkenness from 58. to 108. It also contained penalties against the adulteration of excisable liquors; and he read an amusing description of the mode in which beer was usually adulterated. The Bill would alter and simplify the present hours of closing. Within four miles of Charing Cross public-houses and beer-houses would not be allowed to open before 7 a.m., and must close at midnight. Elsewhere in the Metropolitan district and in towns of not less than 10,000 souls they must not open before 7 a.m., and must close at 11 p.m. In other towns and districts the hour of opening would also be 7 a.m., and of closing 10 p.m. On Sundays they must not open until 1 p.m., and must close betwen 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. On Sunday nights the hour of closing would be an hour earlier than the hour of closing on weekdays, and would be accordingly eleven o'clock in London, ten o'clock outside the four mile radius and in large towns, and nine o'clock in the country. The police regulations of the Bill would be enforced by special police inspectors, not less than one such inspector being appointed for every 100,000 inliabitants, to overlook public-houses, and see that the law was enforced. The Bill set up no rating qualification in the case of public-houses. A rating qualification only existed in the case of beer-houses, and with this the Bill would not interfere. Inasmuch, however, as there was reason to believe that many of the worst-conducted beer-houses existed under false pretences, the Bill would give the magistrates power to institute a special valuation, which would weed out a number of low houses. The Bill might be called a moderate measure, but it would diminish the tendency to an undue multiplication of public-houses, and simplify the existing law, without interfering with the just rights of property.
In the course of the debate on the second reading the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Magee) made a remarkable and courageous speech. He pleaded for the right of the ratepayers to have some voice in the regulation of the liquor traffic, by giving them representatives on the Licensing Boards, but he said incidentally that he was not only not pleading for the principle of the Permissive Bill, but that he abhorred it :-"If I were given the choice, I should say that it would be much better that England should be free than that England should be sober,—for with freedom we must eventually obtain sobriety, but on the other hand we should lose both freedom and sobriety together.”
The Bill, however, passed through Parliament with but little debate and almost without alteration. Sir Wilfred Lawson denounced it as a very weak Bill, but the Licensed Victuallers accepted it as a compromise; and a rival Bill, introduced by Sir H. Selwin Ibbetson, was ultimatelywithdrawn. The first part of the new statute relates tó illicit sales of spirits, and declares the penalties to be enforced; and the penalties for drunkenness are increased from 10s. for a first, to 40s. for subsequent offences. The Act then imposes penalties on adulteration of liquors with “coculus indicus, chloride of sodium (otherwise common salt), copperas, opium, Indian hemp, strychnine, tobacco, darnel seed, extract of logwood, salts of zinc or lead, alum, &c.” On the vexed question of the hours of closing, the Act provides that they shall be in the City of London or liberties thereof, or any parish subject to the Metropolitan Board of Works, or within four miles radius from Charing Cross, on Sunday, Christmas Day, and Good Friday, during the whole day before one o'clock, and between three and six o'clock in the afternoon, and after the hour of eleven of the clock at night, and on other days before five o'clock on the following morning shall be closed ; if situated beyond those places, on Sunday, Christmas Day, and Good Friday, during the whole day before the hour of half-past twelve (or, if the licensing justices direct, one) in the afternoon, and between the hours of half-past two (or, if one be the hour of opening, then three) and six in the afternoon, and after the hour of ten (or if the licensing justices direct, any hour not earlier than nine and not later than eleven) at night; and on all other
1872.] Justice Keogh's Judgment on the Galway Election. [79 days before the hour of six (or if the licensing justices direct, any hour not earlier than five, and not later than seven) in the morning and after the hour of eleven (or if the licensing justices direct, any hour not earlier than ten and not later than twelve) at night.
This effort to make people virtuous by Act of Parliament created at first great excitement out of doors. During the progress of the Bill Lord Kimberley and Mr. Bruce were waited upon by a number of deputations to urge upon them changes and modifications in its provisions; and on its coming into operation, as it did immediately on receiving the Royal Assent, riots that threatened to be serious greeted it in many parts of the country. At great meetings held in London and the principal provincial towns the general feeling was expressed with sufficient clearness. Oxford and Exeter were prominent in opposition to the Act; but opposition did not induce the magistrates to show themselves willing to avail themselves of the discretion vested in them with reference to the hours of closing.
At the general annual licensing meeting of the borough of Folkesstone, intimation was given to the publicans that in future 11 p.m. would be the hour of closing. On Saturday evening (August 31). a number of fishermen, roughs, &c., assembled at the lower part of the town, many of them carrying large bottles and cans of beer, which they took to the front of the Pavilion Hotel. Lights were burning in some of the rooms of the hotel, and the crowd demanded that as the “ little houses” were closed the “large ones” should follow their example. Stones were thrown and several windows broken. The crowd, after hooting, singing, and making hideous noises outside the hotel for about half an hour, paraded through the town to the other hotels, and some lights being visible in the windows of the Albion, several panes of glass were broken by the rioters.
The magistrates of Stroud adopted the Act with such rigour, that by a reading of their own they will succeed in entirely closing, after the present
year, nearly every full licensed public-house in the district. At Liverpool, Norwich, Colchester, Coventry, York, and other towns, memorials very largely and influentially signed were rejected, and a resolution of the Oxford magistrates to alter the hours of closing to half-past eleven on weekdays and half-past ten on Sundays, was almost a solitary exception to the rule of Spartan severity. In the City of London the Licensing Act was put into operation without difficulty of any kind; but the general and widespread discontent aroused by this measure do not seem likely to pass away with the riots which were its first
many parts of the country.
During the laborious weeks which preceded the Prorogation, the progress of business was interrupted by an exciting debate on an Irish topic which had created much interest in the country. An account of the Galway election has been given in a preceding chapter. The petition against Captain Nolan's return was heard by Mr. Justice Keogh, who gave his decision in a judgment which occupied nine consecutive hours, with an interval of a quarter of