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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27TH. HOUSE OF COMMONS. The second reading of a bill to amend the Merchandise Marks Act was moved by Sir H. Vincent. The object of the measure, he said, was to amend that section of the act of 1887 which provided that all imported goods should, where possible, be accompanied by a definite indication of the country in which such goods were made or produced, by substituting the words foreign made,' those words to be con- spicuously and indelibly stamped ton each ar- ticle. Mr. GODSON seconded the motion. Mr. RITCHIE said the bill appeared to have been thrown together' in a way which made it impossible for anyone to understand what was meant. He himself had for a long time been of opinion that the marking of goods with a definite country of origin had been a mest excellent advertisement to our foreign competitors. He suggested that the bill should be withdrawn, on the understanding that a Select Committee would be appointed to in- quire into the working of the act. Sir H. VINCENT refused at first to withdraw the bill, which was condemned by Mr. Bryce, Sir W. Harcourt, Mr. Mundella, and other members. A request which was then made by the mover of the bill to be allowed to withdraw it was not granted, and on a division being taken the motion for the second reading was rejected fay 153 votes to 97. SUNDAY CLOSING IN IVALES. On the order for the second reading of the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act, 1881, Amendment Bill. Mr. GALLOWAY asked the Speaker whether it would not be against a precedent laid down by Speaker Peel that this bill, which had only just been printed, should be considered. The SPEAKER having pointed out that the ruling of Speaker Peel was against the hon. member's own contention, called Mr. Herbert Roberts to move the second reading. Mr. ROBERTS, in doing so, said the bill re- ferred to a question of the very greatest inter- ) terest to Wales, and had been before the House for six successive sessiens. The House would remember that in 1881 the Welsh Sunday Clos- ing Bill was passed, and became law the next year. At the instigation of a certain party, and for reasons which he would not enter into, an agitation was then got up, and as a conse- quence a, commission was appointed in 1889 by the Conservative Ministry of the day to inquire into its operation. The bill he now moved was virtually the recommendations of that com- mission, and he should like it to be clearly understood that it was not appointed by the temperance party, or at its instigation. That Commission held eighteen sittings, and took evidence from 400 witnesses. He did not think the Government could take a very hostile atti- tude to the bill. If it were said that a Commis- sion was sitting to inquire into the general licensing law, it could very well be replied that the report of a general commission ought I not to override the report of a special Commig. sion sent down to Wales to inquire into a point. This bill did not contain any new legislation whatever, but was founded upon the recom- mendations of that Commission. The Commis- sion began by pointing out that the result of the inquiry had been to leave no doubt that in Wales as a whole, feeling was largely in favour of the act. Evidence was given in the report io show that in the first place there had been an increased improvement in the streets on Sunday; secondly, that since the passing of the act there had been an increased regularity at work during the early days of the week and, thirdly, that it had done something to con- duce to greater comfort and an improved con- dition of the people generally. It might be said that in certain districts the operation of the Act had been followed by an increase in Sunday convictions, but the commission re- marked that they could not regard the statis- tics as conclusive one way or the other, and that an increase in Sunday drinking arose from some particular state of things prevailing at the time. The first and foremost of the diffi- culties which had rendered it necessary for them to incorporate these recommendations in the bill, was the one relating to the bona-fide traveller. The Commission said it was the case, under the existing state of the law, in- terpretedlas the bona fide traveller clause usually was, that nothing like a general prohibition of the wile of intoxicating liquors had as yet been enforced. In other words, that the present state of the law made made it impossible for any Sunday Closing Act to be effective. That difficulty had been got over in Scotland by a system of Sunday licenses, which the Commis- sion suggested should be carried out in Wales, and that suggestion was embodied in this bill. The Act had been evaded upon four main points -firsb, the operation of the bona fide traveller clause; secondly, in the use of clubs not gen- uinely clubs thirdly, shebeens; and. fourthly, the wholesale beer trade. With reference to the bona fide traveller clause, the bill proposed that no occupier of licensed premises should sell liquor to travellers without a Sunday license; that the premises so licensed must be above the original value of X25 and that the holder should keep a book to enter the name of the traveller. As to illegal clubs, the bill proposed that any association of ten or,more parties ex- isting only for the purpose of supplying intoxi- cating liquor should be liable to a certain fine, and that shebeens should be subject to a higher scale of fines for a breach of law. The whole- sale beer trade had caused considerable diffi- culty in Cardiff and elsewhere, and the bill pro- posed first of all registration by the county council, and a minimum of f,15 rateable value. The last provision was that no intoxicating liquor should in future be sold in Wales in the refreshment rooms at the railway stations. The border difficulty had been a grave obstacle in some districts against the satisfactory work- ing of the Act, because the border between England and Wales passed through the popu- lous mining district of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. That fact had been the cause of a large proportion of the offences, and a consequent agitation against the Act in those districts. It was proposed that Monmouthshire should, for the purpose of this Act, form part of Wales. The bill was in no way political. It really represented the unanimous opinion of the Royal Commission founded upon Welsh feeling. If there were in England the same body of public opinion in favour of this bill as there was in Wales, it would very soon pass into law, and therefore he appealed to the Go- nerjment, hoping they would see the justice of not refusing to support what had been the re- commandation of a Commission appointed by their own party (cheers). Sir W. HARCOURT said this bill was foun- ded, he believed, almost literally on the report of the Royal Commission of 1889. The Com. mission was appointed by a Conservative Go- vernment, and it was one of the greatest pos- sible weight Lord Balfour of Burleigh was chairman, and it was impossible to mention a list of names more entitled to respect than the names of the members of that Commission. There was careful examination of the evidence taken upon the spot, and this bill was practi- cally a transcript of the recommendations of that Commission. He thought that was sum- cient to recommend the bill to the House, and he would press on the House to give the bill a second reading, reserving any criticisms on the particular clauses to the Committee stage. Mr. J. M. MACLEAN said he could not ac- cede to the proposal of the right hon. gentleman that the bill should be read a second time. The bill was as strong a bill as he had ever read for the manufacture of new crimes and criminals. The prevailing opinion in Cardiff was against the Sunday Closing Act as it now stood, and that opinion would be stronger against the present bill It was proposed to treat a town like Cardiff in a way that nobody would treat London or any other big city. He had never heard of such monstrous proposals as were brought forward in this bill. For example, it was proposed to inflict a penalty of hard labour on any man who drank an illicit glass of beer. He condemned the clause proposing to close railway station refreshment-rooms as a ha. rd. ship on travellers. He would resoIuteJý oppose the application of a bill of this kind to the whole of Wales. Mr. HOWELL protested that the House, not expecting the bill would come on, had no ade- quate opportunity of studying its provisions, or of taking the advice of those whom they trusted in these matters. Moreover, he remin- ded the House that a Royal Commission was at present inquiring into the whole subject. He admitted that Sunday closing had done g.ood in certain districts, but in other districts harm had been done, and this ought to make them the more careful how they proceeded. Just upon half-past live o'clock Mr. Vy. John- son moved the closure. The Speaker declined to accept the motion in the case of a bill which had only come down from the printers since the House met, and had been under discussion for a very short time. The debate was adjourned until February 9th.