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the views of the Senate and of the Minister, more likely to have been written by a guilty the question was again, after an unex- than by an innocent man. Yet, as corroplained delay, brought before the Council borative evidence of guilt was it treated by of the Empire. In March 1860, that the Russian council. But, perhaps, the council, not agreeing with the local tri- council's idea as to what might serve to bunal which had acquitted the accused-corroborate the veracity of the accuser nor with the Minister of Justice who Bogdanow, is more singular still. Besides thought that they ought to be acquitted his various tales which I have already nor even with the Senate of Moscow, which mentioned, this man at one time included had held that there was ground for sus- in the charge of being one of his accompicion, but not for conviction-proposed on plices in the murders an army surgeon the same evidence to decide that there was named Gubitski; but when last examined clear ground for their absolute condemna- he admitted his accusation against the tion. The draft of this proposed decision surgeon to be wholly unfounded. After was communicated to Mr. Samiatnin, de- referring to this, the decision of the counputy of the Minister of Justice (an office cil actually contends that "this circumwhich is, I believe, analogous to that of stance very strongly brings to light the an Under Secretary of State). Mr. Sa- sincerity of the last statement." That is miatnin made a report, containing an to say, in other words, that if a witness elaborate examination of the evidence, in first makes, and then withdraws, a false which he pointed out several of the con- charge against A., this circumstance does tradictions and absurdities that I have not weaken, but strengthens, the credimentioned, and a number of others with bility of a charge which the same witness which I have not troubled the House, and makes and persists in against B. Such is he concluded that such evidence could pro- the logic of the Russian council. Whether perly lead to no other result than an ac- the council was itself not quite satisfied quital. The Council of the Empire, how- with the arguments of which these are ever, persisted in its first intention, con- specimens, or for what other reason the demned the accused, and sentenced Jush-execution of its sentence was delayed I kevitcher and Schlifferman, and a soldier do not know; but, in fact, it was not until named Jurlow (whom it treated as the May 1861, that the unhappy prisoners three principal criminals) to loss of civil were despatched to the Siberian mines, rights and hard labour in the mines of where they are believed still to linger. Siberia, in two cases for twenty, and in the third for eighteen years. It also sentenced others to minor penalties, whilst it suffered the perjured informers, who stated themselves to have been accomplices in the murders, to escape with almost nominal punishments.

I will not detain the House with any minute examination of the attempts at reasoning by which the Council of the Empire sought to refute the clear and convincing arguments of Mr. Samiatnin; but I can give two examples, which may be very briefly stated. The council treated, not indeed as one of the most convincing proofs, but as corroborative evidence against Jushkevitcher, a note which, after his arrest, he had written to his daughter, and in which he simply requested her to inform the Jewish congregation of his misfortune, in order that they might pray for deliverance from false accusations, adding -"Be firm, my dearest daughter, I beg this of you and your brother.' To many persons this note may seem to have some touch of pathos; but I cannot perceive how any one could suppose that it was

Since the decision of the Council of the Empire was pronounced, and in part since it was executed, changes have taken place in the Russian Government. Mr. Lanskoi is no longer Minister of the Interior. Count Bludow (who as Chancellor is considered to have been peculiarly responsible for the decision of the council, and one of whose last ministerial acts was, I lament to say, to appoint that very Mr. Guirs who presided over the second Saratow commission, to an important office peculiarly connected with the affairs of the Jews) is now travelling for the benefit of his health, and is not, I understand, likely to resume active employment. He has long served his country according to his own conscientious views; and as I certainly wish him no harm, I can only desire that his travels may be productive of as much benefit to himself, as I believe they will be to all, not being members of the Greek Church, who, if he had remained at home, would have been subject to his influence. But changes more important than those of a personal character have also taken place in the Russian Government. They have, as I

believe that the Jews of Russia are quite ready to acknowledge with gratitude, modified and somewhat humanized the laws that had till lately pressed upon and almost crushed that numerous class of the Emperor's subjects. But they have done nothing towards revising the unjust sentence of the Council of the Empire in the Saratow affair, or towards the relief of the sufferers.

Now, we are ready to make all due allowances for the difficulties besetting the Government of a country where society is half dissolved, and is seeking to reconstitute itself. Hon. Members may call to mind those two lines of the old Roman poet, where he refers to the pleasure which a man, looking from the shore on a tempestuous sea, derives from contrasting his own ease and security with the toils and perils of the storm-tossed mariner. It is with no such cold or selfish feeling that, from the harbour of long-established constitutional freedom and well-administered laws, we look upon the struggles of those nations that are still painfully striving to attain the same haven of safety. On the contrary, we warmly spmpathize with their efforts, and we desire that they may as easily and speedily as possible secure to themselves the blessings which we enjoy. It is in accordance with this sympathy and with our consciousness of those difficulties, to bear in mind that the Russian Government cannot be expected at once to remedy all the evils resulting from past misrule. But I think that hon. Members who have favoured me with their attention will be of opinion, that no more important steps can be taken towards bestowing on the Russian people the inestimable advantage of confidence in the administration of justice, than by getting rid of three of the greatest abuses revealed to us in this Saratow affair. Difficult as it may be to free from the influence of religious prejudice the proceedings arising out of the criminal law, the public prosecutor at least should not set the example of yielding to such preju dice. The use of the stick and similar instruments as auxiliaries in the interrogation of prisoners should be at once and for ever abolished. And the practice should also be abolished of following accused persons from a court which acquits them, to a court which declares them liable to suspicion, and so on from tribunal to tribunal, till a condemnation (in the justice of which, under such circumstances, no reliance can be placed) is at length obtained. I think

we shall also be of opinion, that many as the claims must at this moment be upon the time and attention of the Imperial Government, it is still desirable that they should find leisure to reconsider the decision of the Council of the Empire, and to relieve the persons who are suffering under a sentence obtained by means of such procedure, and founded upon such evidence, as those which I have described.

It now only remains for me to thank the House for having listened to my statement, and to put to the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) a short and simple quesiton. I am aware, that as the persons concerned are not British subjects, the British Government can have no right to make any official representation respecting them. But I wish to inquire, whether Her Majesty's Government is inclined to offer, with regard to the transactions I have referred to, any unofficial and friendly suggestions to the Government of his Imperial Majesty.

MR. BLAKE said, he trusted that the concluding request of the hon. Baronet would be complied with by Her Majesty's Government. They had interfered on behalf of Spaniards who, as was alleged, had been persecuted on religious grounds, though, in fact, political questions were mixed up in the matter; while, no doubt in the case of the Jews, the persons who had been ill-used had been persecuted from the senseless aversion of the Russians to the Hebrew people. He visited the Russian empire about ten years ago, and could testify to the existence of the persecuting spirit which had been referred to by the hon. Baronet. Upon the slightest pretence prosecutions were instituted against Jews, and he had seen many of them sent to Siberia on suspicion of having committed offences, some of which were of a very trifling character. On one occasion he saw fifty Jewish youths sent in chains to the Russian navy, because some people in the village in which they resided were suspected of having been engaged in some smuggling transactions. Great hopes had been entertained that on the accession of the present Emperor changes favourable to the Jews would be made, and he much regretted that those hopes had not been realized. He hoped that a remonstrance from Her Majesty's Government would produce some effect, or at any rate that the strong expression of the feeling of that House might have some effect.

Well, he did not suppose

themselves. SPIRIT LICENCES.-OBSERVATIONS. that the history of legislation contained a MR. LAWSON said, he rose to call more lamentable failure than the Beer Act. attention to the general dissatisfaction ex- The Committee of 1834 described the evils isting throughout the country regarding the of intoxication in the strongest language; Laws for licensing Houses for the sale of they described drunkenness as the cause of spirituous and fermented Liquors, and to the immense majority of the crimes comthe necessity for the immediate revision mitted in this country and one of the great thereof; also to the expediency and justice causes of the misery of the poor, and they of permitting the Inhabitants of any parish recommended the introduction by the Goor place to decide whether the common vernment of some general and comprehensale of such liquors shall be carried on sive law for the suppression of the existing within the locality. The question on facilities for intemperance. That was in which he wished to address the House fact a recommendation of the Maine law in was one of considerable importance. It all its integrity. Still stronger evidence was generally felt that the existing licens- was given before a Committee of the House ing system required considerable alteration, of Lords in 1850, but nothing was done. and during the present Session an immense Then there was the Committee of 1853, number of people had petitioned the House, presided over by the President of the Poor stating the grievance under which they Law Board; but still no legislation took lay, and suggesting the remedies which place. In 1860 the Chancellor of the they desired to see adopted. What he Exchequer, not satisfied with the trial of desired to do was to explain that grievance, free trade in beer established in 1830, and to point out the remedies referred to. suggested that an additional supply of wine The licensing system, in its present state, would make people sober; the wine duties could hardly be defended by any one. were reduced, and refreshment houses Almost all the hon. Gentlemen who might with wine licences were established; but be considered authorities in the House had he had not heard that the scheme of the spoken strongly against it, and their opi- right hon. Gentleman had done anything nions would carry more weight than any- towards checking drunkenness. In fact, thing he could say. The right hon. Gen- in the following year the quarter sestleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer sions in Lancashire presided over by the said, two years ago, that his opinion was noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord very unfavourable to the present system Stanley), agreed to a petition stating under which the drinking-houses were li- that the greater portion of the offences censed and managed in this country, and punished at petty sessions were attributable he went on to say that the present system to intoxication, and that the facility of obimposed upon magistrates duties which taining licences to sell intoxicating liquors it was impossible for them to discharge. increased the immorality of the people. The Secretary of State said, alluding to That position was carried by forty-six votes the evidence given before the Committee to one. In apite, however, of all the rein 1834, that a more efficient control commendations and petitions on the subought to be given over the licences of both ject, nothing had been done to apply a classes of houses, meaning public-houses remedy to this terrrible disease. Seeing and beer-houses. The Chairman of the that the Legislature did not take any Poor Law Board (Mr. Villiers), who was steps to prevent this great evil, a plan had the Chairman of that Committee, said that been suggested which had taken a great the magistrates themselves admitted that hold on the public mind. It was to have they had no proper evidence to guide their a permissive law enabling any town or opinion as to whether they should grant district, by a majority of two-thirds, to licences. Mr. W. Brown, who was at the prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors. time Member for South Lancashire, said Now, he held two things, first, that the that magistrates, magistrates' clerks, li- plan he had suggested of entirely prohibitcensed victuallers, and brewers, werealling the sale of liquors in any district would demoralized by the licensing system. be effectual; and, secondly, that it was Thirty years ago, when the Beer Act was introduced, it was said that that measure would give working men good beer, and that it would take them from dens of infamy to places where they would enjoy

just. With regard to the first point, they found that crime and pauperism and lunacy existed in any district almost in proportion to the facility of obtaining intoxicating liquors. But they had illustrations of

the opposite state of things. Mr. James | assume, but he thought it ought, at all Gray, chairman of the Edinburgh pa- events, to embody the principle for which rochial board, said at the Town Council, on the 23rd of October, 1849

"There are thirty-four parishes in Scotland without a public-house, and the effect upon the parishioners is that they have not a penny of poor rates in one of them."

He said that he once lived eight years in a parish where there was no public-house, and during all that period he never saw a person the worse for drink. There were no poor rates in the parish then; but now there were five public-houses and a poor rate of 1s. 8d. in the pound. Then the report of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland by their committee for the suppression of intemperance, dated 31st May, 1849, stated that

"The returns made to your Committee's inquiries clearly prove that the intemperance of any neighbourhood is clearly proportioned to the number of its spirit licences, so that where there are no public-houses nor any shops for selling spirits there ceases to be any intoxication."

he contended, which was supported by 200,000 people. He entreated the Honie Secretary to consider during the recess whether he could not embody this principle in a Bill, to be introduced next Session, and he was convinced that by so doing the right hon. Baronet would promote the peace and prosperity and ensure the gratitude of thousands of his poorer fellow-countrymen.

their places to support the Motion, and ladies, it said, would do noble service, too, by writing to M.P.'s. The gentleman were well versed in the arts of agitation, but, unfortunately, there was no Motion before the House. The hon. Member on Friday night-the omnium gatherum night

MR. KER SEYMER said, he should be prepared to discuss the question more fully when the hon. Gentleman moved the second reading of the Permissive Bill. It had long been prepared. It had been accepted at public meetings; and if the feeling in favour of the measure was as strong as the hon. Gentleman represented, the House of Commons, unreformed though it was, would not be deaf to the voice of public opinion. The gentlemen out of doors who advocated the Maine Law were not satisfied with the position which He thought it was just because he could they held. The organ of the Alliance see no injustice in permitting the inhabit- attempted last week to mislead its readers. ants of a parish to decide whether the He observed a paragraph in it, headed common sale of liquors should be carried" Mr. Lawson's Motion," in which Memon within their several localities. A hun-bers of Parliament were urged to be in dred years ago, he might add, great distress prevailed, and a law had been passed imposing a check upon distillation, the result being that, notwithstanding the dearness of provisions, the people were absolutely better off than in more prosperous periods. These facts clearly showed the advantages of a prohibitory policy. It might be said that such a law would be an inconvenience to many people. Why, of course, if it were not so, they would not want a law; but the inconvenience of a few ought not to be allowed to weigh against the wishes of the many. All the people asked, and all he asked for them, was the power to protect themselves from evils of the sale of intoxicating liquors. It might be said that this was a crotchet, but it was a crochet shared in by 200,000 people. From Glasgow there had been a petition signed by 27,000 persons in its favour, and from Lancashire one signed by 20,000. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department had, he believed, as good as promised that he would not allow another Session to pass away without taking some steps to alter the licensing system. He did not wish to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman what shape a measure for that purpose should

called attention to the licensing system. The words of the Motion were ingenious and mixed up very distinct things. It referred to the general dissatisfaction at the laws which regulated the sale of spirituous liquors. The dissatisfaction arose from the facts that the views of the Public-house Committee, of which he was a member, had not been adopted. Those views were very distinct from the views of the hon, Member. He still adhered to the opinion of that Committee. He was for free trade, as he understood it. He was for abolishing the present magisterial discretion, which the magistrates could not satisfactorily exercise. Under the present law, the beershop-keepers were kept in an inferior position, and that was the reason that the beershop system was a complete failure. The licensed victuallers, quite unconsciously, had often played the game of the Maine Law men. When a new man applied for a licence, they got up a memo

rial, and employed a solicitor to show the magistrates, that although 100 licensed houses were good for a district, 101 or 102 would be very injurious to the morals of the community. The advocates for the Maine Law might well say, if 101 are injurious, why not 100, or why not 99, and so on until it ended in complete prohibition. That was not his view. He did not care how many public-houses there were, provided they were well regulated and conducted by persons of good character. There had, no doubt, been many petitions in favour of a Permissive Bill; but an organized body, with funds at command, could get up petitions with ease, and once a petition signed by hundreds of thousands had been presented in favour of the Charter, but it did no good, and they heard very little about the Charter now. It was said that the meetings were unanimous. Persons did not care about opposing views advocated by worthy people from religious and laudable motives, and they did not like to put their heads into a hornets' nest; for if teetotallers abstained from strong liquors, they certainly made up for it by indulging in very strong language. He was glad to see that the hon. Gentleman was an exception. The speech of the hon. Gentleman on a recent occasion, at a public meeting over which he presided, was marked with great good taste, and he gave him credit for it, knowing how difficult it was in addressing a one-sided audience, who cheered everything that was said, to speak with moderation. They ought not to overlook the lessons of experience. Some years ago there was a strong agitation for closing the Post-office on Sundays. Meetings and petitions were unanimous; the Government of the day acceded to the proposal; but the inconvenience was found to be intolerable, and the regulation was at once rescinded. He was inclined to believe, that if people thought there was the slightest chance of the Maine Law passing, the meetings would not be so unanimous as they were at present. The hon. Gentleman said there was no injustice or tyranny in the majority acting for the minority. Unlikely as it was that in any district there would be a majority for the Maine Law, he contended that the majority had no right to dictate to the minority. The only country in which it had been tried upon a large scale was the Northern States of America, and they must draw a distinction between a demoVOL. CLXVII. [THIRD SERIES.]

cratic country and a free country. In a democratic country the majority ruled the minority with a rod of iron. In a free country the majority determined the general policy, but respected the rights of the minority; and nothing more excited the admiration of foreigners than the manner in which we avoided pushing matters to extremes. We might not be strict logicians, but we were excellent politicians. We tolerated anomalies, but we escaped revolutions. How absurd it would be to see a cosy town councillor, with his bins full of crusted port, voting that the poor labouring man should not go and buy a glass of beer. The poor man could not lay in a store; he must depend upon getting his beer as he wanted it: and to prohibit him from getting it in the only way open to him would be an act of tyranny and the grossest class legislation. Supposing there was any chance of such an enactment, the most formidable agitation would be the result. The publicans had shown themselves strong enough already to maintain an exceptional position, for they were the only protected trade in the country. The beershop-keepers would, for the first time, unite with them; the apple growers, the barley growers, the maltsters, the brewers; and not only the drunkards, who were few, but the great mass of the temperate men, would be against such a Bill. The case was not so extreme as to justify such legislation. The Maine Law men thought that a person who drank a glass of beer was on the high road to drunkenness. Alcohol in every shape they called poison, although it must be very slow poison. The great majority of men who drank beer, wine, or spirits, were temperate. The teetotallers were possessed with a kind of odium theologicum. He believed that they hated temperate men more than drunkards, because they knew a drunkard might take the pledge, and be very wise in doing so, but temperate men never would. The hon. Member in his notice had used the word "inhabitants," whereas the Maine Liquor Bill said "ratepayers." But this was more than a ratepayers' question, and therefore he liked the word in the notice much better than that in the Bill. Nothing less than universal suffrage would do upon such a question. Manhood suffrage would not be enough, because you had no right to say to a young man of twenty, "You shall not drink a glass of beer." To show the tyrannical spirit of the Bill, he would read the mar

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