Imatges de pàgina

dental circumstances. They may be made to counteract each other. But their natural affinity is always discoverable, and most generally in the end prevails. They prepare for each other. They succeed each other. They combine together. There are no principles which have so often and so clearly exemplified these observations, as the zeal for Religion and the love of Liberty. But if the friends of religion should be blind to this affinity, they may be well assured that it never escapes the watchful jealousy of the possessors of power; who, however they may be pleased with an obedient clergy and a religion which teaches quiet, yet, as politicians, (whatever may be the exceptions of individual character) regard zeal as an ungovernable quality, tremble at the approach of every species of enthusiasm, and have a natural dread of whatever breaks upon them from that higher region of human feeling where Piety and Patriotism are kindled.

ART. VII. A Letter to the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Sur

rey, on the Misconduct of Licensing Magistrates, and the conse

quent Degradation of the Magistracy. By Thomas EDWARDS, : LL. D. London, Butterworth. 1825.

W E beg to be acquitted of all intention of affronting, or at

tacking the Great Unpaid. Upon the whole, though with many exceptions, and wishing for many alterations, we are favourable to the institution of an unpaid Magistracy, and are convinced that they are the instruments of much public good. What in truth could we substitute for this unpaid Magistracy? Where is the machinery for which they could be exchanged ? We have no doubt but that a set of rural judges, in the pay of Government, would very soon become corrupt jobbers, and odiqus tyrants, as they often are on the Continent. But the Magistrates, as they now exist, really constitute a bulwark of some value against the supreme power of the State. They would not submit to be employed for base and criminal purposes. They are tools perhaps in some cases—but still tools that must be respected. The power trusted to so many men of fortune, communicates vigour and spirit to that body of men, and inspires them with just notions of their own importance. If any serious business arises in a county, the Magistrates assemble to discuss, advise and direct. They are properly listened to by the Government-properly listened to by the people. They are, in almost all cases, the very description of persons whom the one ought to trust, and the other to follow. We make these observations, to show that we have no desire to depreciate so valuable a body of men; at the same time that we reserve to ourselves the fullest right of discussing, in what particular points we consider them to be intrusted with a power, which there is no occasion to confide to them-nor to any body else.

What the poor shall drink-how they shall drink it-in pint cups or quart mugs—hot or cold - in the morning or the evening-whether the Three Pigeons shall be shut up, and the Shoulder of Mutton be opened—whether the Black Horse shall continue to swing in the air-or the White Horse, with animated crest and tail, no longer portend spirits within :-all these great questions depend upon little clumps of squires and parsons gathered together in alehouses in the month of September—so portentous to publicans and partridges, to sots and sportsmen, to guzzling and game.

“ I am by no means a friend to the multiplication of publichouses,” says a plump perdricide gentleman in loose mud-coloured gaiters, bottle-green jacket and brass buttons. Perhaps not; but you are a friend to the multiplication of Inns. You are well aware, that in your journeys to Buxton, Harrowgate and Bath, the competition of inns keeps down the price of your four post-horses, and secures for you and yours the most reverential awe,-from boots upwards, to the crafty proprietor himself of the house of entertainment. From what other cause the sudden and overwhelming tumult at the Dragon ?-Why the agonizing cry of first inn? Why is cake and jelly pushed in at the window ? Why are four eyeless, footless, legless horses, rapidly circumscribed by breeching and bearing reins ? Why are you whisked off, amid the smiles of sallow waiters, before the landlord has had time to communicate to you the sad state of turnips in the neighbourhood ? Look now a little to the right, as you proceed down the main street, and you will behold the sign of the Star and Garter. Make your bow to the landlord, for to him you are indebted for the gratification of your wishes, and the activity of your movements. His waiters are as sallow, his vertebræ are as flexible—his first turns as prompt and decisive. Wo to the Dragon if he slumbers and sleeps ! Wo to the Star if it does not glitter ! Each publican keeps the other in a state of vigilant civility; and the traveller rolls along to his journey's end, lolling on the cushion of competition! Why not therefore extend the benefit of this principle to the poor villager or the needy traveller—which produces so many comforts to the landed and substantial Justice ?

There are two alehouses in the village, the Red Horse and the Dun Cow. Is it common sense to suppose, that these two publicans are not desirous of gaining customers from each other ?--and that the means they take are not precisely the same as those of important inns,—by procuring good articles, and retailing them with civility and attention ? We really do not mean to accuse English Magistrates of ill nature, for in general there is a good deal of kindness and consideration among them ; but they do not drink ale, and are apt to forget the importance of ale to the common people. When wine-drinkers regulate the liquor and comfort of ale-drinkers, it is much as if carnivorous animals should regulate the food of graminivorous animals—as if a lion should cater for an ox, or a coachhorse order dinner for a leopard. There is no natural capacity or incitement to do the thing well--no power in the lion to distinguish between clover and cow-thistles-no disposition in the coach-horse to discriminate between the succulence of a young kid, and the distressing dryness of a superannuated cow. The want of sympathy is a source of inattention, and a cause of evil.

The immense importance of a pint of ale to a common person should never be overlooked ; nor should a good natured Justice forget that he is acting for Liliputians, whose pains and pleasures lie in a very narrow compass, and are but too apt to be treated with neglect and contempt by their superiors. About ten or eleven o'clock in the morning, perhaps, the first faint, shadowy vision of a future pint of beer dawns on the fancy of the ploughman. Far, very far is it from being fully developed. Sometimes the idea is rejected, sometimes it is fostered. At one time he is almost fixed on the Red Horse; but the blazing fire and sedulous kindness of the landlady of the Dun Cow shake him, and his soul labours ! Heavy is the ploughed land- dark, dreary, and wet the day. His purpose is at last fixed for beer! Threepence is put down for the vigour of ale, one penny for the stupefaction of tobacco !-and these are the joy and holidays of millions, the greatest pleasure and relaxation which it is in the power

of fortune to bestow;—and these are the amusements and holidays which a wise and parental Legislature should not despise, or hastily extinguish, but, on the contrary, protect with every regulation which prudence and morality would in any degree permit. We must beg leave to go into the Dun Cow with the poor man; and we beg our readers to come in for a moment with us. Hodge finds a very good fire, a very good natured landlady, who has some obliging expressions for every body, a clean bench, and some very good ale--and all this produced by the competition with the opposite alehouse; but for which, he must have put up with any treatment, and any refreshment the unopposed landlord might have chosen to place before him. Is Hodge not sensible that his landlady is obliging, and his ale good ? How can it be supposed that the common people have not the same distinctions and niceties in their homely pleasures, as the upper classes have in their luxuries? Why should they not have? Why should they not be indulged in it? Why should they be debarred from all benefit of that principle of competition, which is the only method by which such advantages are secured, or can ever be secured, to any class of mankind ?the method to which the upper classes, wherever their own pleasures are concerned, always have recourse. The licensers of public houses are so sensible of this, that, where there is only one inn, nothing is more common than to substitute, and make exertions to set up another, and this by gentlemen who are by no means friendly to the multiplication of alehouses.

If it is necessary that inns should be good for travellers who are not probably forced to travel-but are mere travellers of idleness and luxury--should not all means be taken to improve public houses, open for the reception of men engaged in serious, though perhaps humble business? Of the extent of the present monopoly in public houses, let the following letter suffice for an example

“ Sir,--Having been informed by Mr Ware, that the Magistrates have been pleased to appoint another meeting for Wednesday, respecting the license for the Horse and Groom public house, I take leave most respectfully to state, that before I purchased, I made due inquiries whether there was any matter affecting the license, and invariably received the satisfactory answer, that the house was well conducted, and no complaint of any sort against it.

“ Upon which I became the purchaser of the lease and good-will, stock in trade, furniture and fixtures, to the amount, in the whole, of near 30001. I therefore take leave most humbly to represent, that if the license be not granted, my loss will be most serious, inasmuch as the lease will not be worth one fourth of the purchase money; for it and the other effects will be comparatively worth but little, independently of the injury which must follow such an event.

“ Under such circumstances I rest satisfied, that, in the further deliberation on the subject, their Worships will not consign me to ruin on account of any irregularity or misconduct on the part of Mr Barton, if they, in the discharge of their duty, can possibly avoid it.

“ Trusting that the situation in which I am involved will be allowed as an excuse for this intrusion, I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant. "-Letter, pp. 93, 94.

Here are premises raised from 7501. to 30001. by the system of licensing; from which must be deducted certainly the good will, which, under any system, would be a fair object of barter. But what would the good will be worth,—or how much would it be reduced in worth, if any person of unexceptionable character might be allowed to open a public house? How common is it to hear publicans stating that their premises will be reduced one half in value, if a rival public house is allowed to be opened. Who pays them for the increased value, the consequence of monopoly, but the public? All persons pay an highly increased price for refreshments, by the licensing power given to Magistrates, as they would for cakes and tarts, if confectioners were licensed,—and for carpentry, if no man could knock a nail without leave of a Justice.

Public houses are not only the inns of the travelling poor, but they are the cellars and parlours of the stationary poor. A gentleman has his own public house, locked up


square brick bins. London Particular-Chalier 1802-Carbonell 1803 -Sir John's present of Hock at my marriage : bought at the Duke's sale-East India Madeira-Lafitte - Noyau— Mareschino. Such are the domestic resources of him who is to regulate the potations of the labourer. And away goes this subterraneous bacchanalian, greedy of the grape, with his feet wrapped up in flannel, to increase, on the licensing day, the difficulties of ob. taining a pot of beer to the lower orders of mankind !—and believes, as all men do when they are deciding upon other person's pleasures, that he is actuated by the highest sense of duty, and the deepest consideration for the welfare of the lower orders.

The truth is, if it is intended by the Legislature that the wants and humble luxuries of the poor should be supplied in the fairest manner, and in the requisite abundance, no principle can be trusted to but the principle of competition. Nothing else can secure fair prices or civility on the part of the dispensers of these luxuries. Every landlord is sure to gratify his insolence and ill humour, and to neglect his customers, who is protected by monopoly, and knows that he can indulge in his faults with impunity. Not only is the article bad, and badly dispensed, when Justices are allowed to decide who shall and who shall not dispense it, but the public do not obtain the article in the quantity they want. For instance, there are roads where the commerce has quadrupled within the last half century, and where the Justices refuse, we have no doubt meaning to do right, to increase the number of public houses. What an enormous and abusable power is this to confide to any body of men! Who can take upon themselves to decide when the VOL. XLIV. NO. 88,


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