§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that the measure was promoted as a protection to local residents and in the interests of the Turf. The measure had been before the public for the last three years, and during its passage through the House of Commons had received the support of Her Majesty's Government, and more especially of those who were connected with the Home Office, and who were, therefore, most responsible for good order within the Metropolitan area. The late Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson), and Sir Matthew White Ridley, the present Under Secretary, spoke and voted, in favour of the second reading when the Bill was in the House of Com- 101 mons; and on March 6, 1879, the Secretary of State (Mr. Cross) himself in Committee said—He only spoke in the interest of public order, when he said that had not people seen that these races were conducted in an improper manner the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) would not have brought forward the Bill. But the races in question had not been conducted with proper decency.He could have wished that the charge of the Bill had been intrusted to some Member of their Lordships' House who was also a member of the Jockey Club, as an earnest of their desire for reforming and purifying the great national pastime of horse-racing; and, certainly, the abuse with which the Bill dealt was one which required immediate remedy. But although the Bill might be justly described as miserably inadequate to securing these purposes, still it did something in the way of affording protection to the peaceable and orderly inhabitants of the suburban districts, whose retirement was now continually infested by the disreputable mobs who attended the gate-money meetings. After the passing of this Bill, horse races within 10 miles of London, unless licensed, would be unlawful. He did not think the area was wide enough; and he would be prepared to support any noble Lord who might propose, in Committee, to extend it to 12 or 14 miles. He had been told that the Bill interfered with the rational amusement of a great multitude of excellent and well-conducted people. So far from that being the case, the Bill enabled the Justices at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions to grant licences at their discretion on the application of any person, being the owner or occupier of any open or inclosed land, desirous of obtaining a licence for horse-racing therein. The application was to be made and disposed of in the same manner as applications for licences for places for dancing and music. The magistrates would hear the application and the evidence in its favour, and any opposition that might be offered; and if the applicant were of good character, the place suitable, and the arrangements were such as would secure that the proceedings would be conducted in an orderly manner, and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood favourable, they would grant the licence; or they might withhold it 102 if not satisfied. Those of their Lordships who were members of the Jockey Club were well aware of the nature and character of gate-meetings; but for the benefit of those who were not, he would give a brief description of them. A sporting publican who rented a few acres of grass got up these races, built a stand, erected booths, and charged a toll on those who came upon the ground. A mob of low betting-men, welshers, sharpers, roughs, and pickpockets were attracted; and the unhappy animals which were engaged in these contests were of such a character and condition that probably no cab or van proprietor would give £25 for the winner of the so-called "Great Swindleham and Milkham Handicap." With such well-established and interesting meetings as Epsom and Ascot within an easy distance of town, where the best horses and the most interesting contests were witnessed, such mushroom gatherings as Kingsbury, West Drayton, Croydon, Eltham, Bromley, Streatham, Enfield, and others, were not needed in the interests of true sport. He confessed he had heard with feelings of great regret that "the Turf Parliament" were hostile to the measure, and were not disposed to give the Bill a second reading. He wished to speak with all respect of the Jockey Club as a court of honour; but in these days private individuals and corporate bodies with irresponsible power were amenable to the public for their actions, and if their actions did not come up to the public requirements they must expect hostile criticism. He feared that that was the case with the Jockey Club at this moment. What had that Turf Parliament done for the sport of racing during the last 10 years? On this subject he would call a distinguished witness into court, one who was now no more, but whose name was yet honoured in the land—the late Earl of Derby. Ten years ago, Lord Derby addressed his celebrated letter to Sir Joseph Hawley, and in it was this remarkable passage—St. James's Square, May 28, 1869.—I cannot conceal my opinion that your resolutions deal with only one of the vices which, as it seems to mo, are yearly lowering the character of the Turf. I know that some persons consider the multiplication of races and of starters a sign of its success. I look on them as the very opposite, and I should hail with satisfaction the disappearance from the Calendar of one-half of 103 the present meetings. I take it that the deterioration of the Turf in public estimation, of which there is no doubt, is mainly owing to the fact that the majority of horses are now in the possession of men who run for profit and not for sport, who care nothing for the animal horse, who cannot afford to wait for a return of their money, but who, in the language of the Manchester school, prefer 'a nimble ninepence to a slow shilling,' and in whose hands a wretched animal, especially if not quite so wretched as he is thought, is as valuable as one of a high class, if not more so. I am satisfied that unless the Jockey Club apply themselves vigorously to check the acknowledged abuses of the Turf, not only will there be an increasing secession of men of character and station, and an increasing accession of those who have neither, but they themselves will lose ground in public estimation, and public opinion will ere long demand and enforce a sweeping suppression of abuses by external authority.And what were the evils on which Lord Derby particularly animadverted? First, early two-year-old racing; second, multiplication of inferior race meetings throughout the country; third, encouragement given to short races, half-mile scrambles, which were no test of the real merits of a horse. He (Viscount Enfield) would now add two other evils with which the Jockey Club had not grappled—the sanctioning play or pay betting for handicaps—one of the most fruitful sources of fraud and robbery, and last, but not least, the prevalent fashion of allowing horses to run under assumed names for their owners or co-proprietors. This last had done more to deteriorate the character of the Turf during the last few years than anything else. During the 10 years since Lord Derby wrote his letter, one solitary measure of reform was passed by the Jockey Club—and that was, he believed, rescinded again within 18 months. He alluded to Colonel Forester's excellent proposal not to allow two-year-olds to run before the 1st of May. The Jockey Club, no doubt, expected that the gentlemen who accepted the office of steward at these meetings would see that they were conducted with decorum. But reliance on these stewards was nugatory—he should like to see the gentleman who valued either his character or his watch who would attend such meetings. Assumed names were a fertile source of fraud, as the public did not know who were the real proprietors of the horses which ran. In former days the owners of racehorses had names which, in public estimation, 104 were synonymous with honourable conduct and straightforward sportsmanship—such names as Bedford, Grafton, Glasgow, Rutland, Portland, Verulam, Jersey, Eglinton, Peel. These were names that gave credit to the Turf. But now, unfortunately, The Racing Calendar contained names of the most irresponsible and grotesque kind—Mr. Flutter, Mr. Micawber, Mr. Ruff, Mr. Good, Mr. Mask, Mr. Somersetshire, Mr. Squills, and many others. They might represent either a distinguished capitalist in the City, or a so-called financing agent, or a retired valet—an opulent gin-distiller possibly, or a station-master on one of their lines of railway—possibly even some young Conservative Member of Parliament, or an aspiring "detrimental," of whom a modern poet of society had given them a very graphic description—His partner's delight and the chaperon's fear,He's voted a trump among men;His father allows him two hundred a-year,And he'll bet you a thousand to ten.The public complained that the Jockey Club endorsed these names, if not with actual approbation, yet with toleration, for they received a fee of 25 guineas for every such name which was registered; and if his noble Friend the senior Steward of the Jockey Club felt any qualms of conscience, he might rub his hands, while he thought of this tax, and say with the old Roman financier, "Non olet." In contrast to our Turf senators, what had the French Jockey Club done? In future no horses would, be allowed to compete at any of the meetings held under the Jockey Club in France that had run at a meeting organized as a private speculation, and where a special tax was levied on the list-keepers or ready-money betters. He would sum up his remarks by asking their Lordships to read the Bill a second time. He did so as a magistrate and ratepayer in the Metropolitan county. He urged its acceptance in the interests of good order, and as some slight security for the protection of the householders, who were injuriously affected by the annual recurrence many times over of these Saturnalia; but he did so especially in the interests of the old national pastime of horse-racing. Though he seldom now attended races, and scarcely ever betted, no member of the Jockey Club 105 took a livelier interest in the national pastime than himself—in the various old-established meetings, the "form" shown by horses, and the manner in which the various crosses of breeding told—and no one would more rejoice than he should were the Jockey Club to bestir themselves in earnest in endeavouring to sweep away the hideous abuses which now existed, and by drastic measures of reform render to racing once again the honourable appellation it formerly deservedly enjoyed of being "the sport of Kings."
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Viscount Enfield.)
LORD ST. LEONARDS
, who was nearly inaudible, said, that he regarded the proposed legislation as an unjustifiable attempt to interfere with the amusements of the humbler class, while it left those of the richer and more leisurely classes untouched. Why should they attempt to suppress such meetings as Kingsbury and. Croydon, and leave out Kempton and Sandown? He would move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and add at the end of the Motion ("this day six months.")—(The Lord St. Leonards.)
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
I shall give my cordial support to the Motion of the noble Lord who has moved the rejection of the Bill. My noble Relative who introduced the measure (Viscount Enfield) dislikes those small meetings which take place in the neighbourhood of London. I can assure him that none in this House or the country can have a greater dislike to them than I have. I take a great interest in the national pastime of racing. I think these small meetings have done an infinity of harm, and I hope to see them put a stop to, and anything I can do either in or out of this House to carry out that view will certainly be done. My noble Relative stated that the Bill which he asked your Lordships to read a second time was miserably inadequate to the object for which it was intended, and that was the only thing he told us about the Bill. We have not, from the beginning to the end of his speech—anything to let us know whether the Bill consists of one clause 106 or 50, or what any of these clauses are intended to enact. My noble Friend was bound to tell us how he intended to do away with what he calls this injury to the ratepayers of the Metropolis. Not only did he not tell us how the Bill would effect its purpose, but he avowed his anxiety to extend its provisions. My noble Friend appears to have run away into a sort of lecture to the Jockey Club, and commented severely on the countenance they had given to persons who ran horses under assumed names. But when he spoke of the assumed names under which horses were entered, he forgets that anyone can ascertain who these assumed names represent. I quite agree, however, with my noble Friend that the use of assumed and grotesque names is not right, and that such names are objectionable. My noble Friend contrasts the names of former days with the names connected with the Turf now; but I cannot agree with him that ail the racing of the present day is done under assumed names. I will read him a few modern names, and I doubt if he will have a single word to say against them. What does he say to these names—the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Stamford, the Earl of Rosebery, the Earl of Rosslyn, the Earl of Wilton, the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Sefton, Lord Falmouth, Lord Vivian, the Earl of Cork, Lord Fitzwilliam, and last, but not least in the list, the Marquess of Hartington, to whom, I think, my noble Relative will give credit for high principle? The assumed names are registered, and they can easily be ascertained; and on the ground of running in assumed names my noble Relative has not made out his case. My noble Relative has given no reasons for the second reading of the Bill; I will endeavour to show why the Bill should not be read a second time. In the first place, I think it is an unnecessary Bill, because the Stewards of the Jockey Club and the magistrates have the power to put an end to these meetings, and they do put a stop to them. Another reason is that the Bill is too despotic and tyrannical in its character. Why should the scope of this Bill stop within 10 miles of the Metropolis? My noble Relative is prepared to extend the area to 12 or 14 miles. But why stop at 12 or 14 miles? It is said that these meetings are a nuisance to the inhabitants of the Metropolis. But 107 London is not the only large city in the country. What are you going to do with Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester? You cannot keep to 10, 12, or 14 miles; if this Bill passes it must be made to apply to the whole country, and if so, you are asking for one of the most tyrannical measures that ever went out of this House. To show what are the powers of the Jockey Club in respect of such meetings, I will quote one of the rules under the head "Management of Meetings and Powers of Stewards"—Every meeting must be advertised in The Racing Calendar. The advertisements must state that the meeting is to be subject to the rules of racing, and must state, as soon as practicable, the days on which the meeting is to begin and end, and the names of two or more persons as stewards, and of the judge, starter, and clerk of the scales. No meeting shall be advertised in The Racing Calendar unless the money added be not less than 300 sovereigns per day.If any meeting takes place without being advertised in The Racing Calendar, the horses which run at it cannot run at any other meeting throughout the country, and the jockeys are not allowed to ride at any course under the rules of the Jockey Club; and this has practically the effect of putting an end to meetings of an objectionable character. In the Memorial presented to my noble Friend the Prime Minister by the Stewards of the Jockey Club, and which is dated Newmarket, May 2, 1879, there is this statement—At meetings of the Jockey Club, held on the 16th and 30th of April, the Racecourses Licensing Bill was brought under consideration, and it was unanimously decided that the Stewards should be requested to place Her Majesty's Government in possession of the facts of the case as regards the powers claimed by the Jockey Club in respect of the licensing of race meetings and the manner in which they have exercised them. In accordance with this direction, the Stewards of the Jockey Club beg to represent to Her Majesty's Ministers that, as far as they are able to gather from brief reports of debates in the House of Commons, where this question seems to have been subjected to a very limited amount of discussion, it would appear that the Bill has been mainly advocated upon the alleged ground that the Jockey Club does not possess the power to deal with meetings held within the contemplated area; and, further, that if it did possess that power, it has hitherto neglected to take the requisite action. We would bring before the consideration of Her Majesty's Government that, in 1876, at a special meeting of the Jockey Club, it was resolved to revise the rules of racing, and that a fresh code of rules came into operation in January, 1877. 108 By these rules the Stewards of the Jockey Club have the full power of preventing any meeting taking place by refusing to advertise it in their official Calendar ('Rules of Racing,' Part 2, Rule 4); and as regards the alleged inaction of the Jockey Club, it should be noted that during the past year the notice of its Stewards having been called to certain irregularities which had occurred at one of the race-meetings held within the radius mentioned in the Bill, instructions were given to Messrs. Weatherby, the publishers of the official Calendar, by the said Stewards, which would have prevented the said meeting being held unless satisfactory guarantees were given for its proper conduct. No application was made to Messrs. Weatherby, and no race-meeting was held on that course last year. The Stewards of the Jockey Club further called the attention of the stewards of race meetings to the necessity of acting with authority in their capacity by the following notice, which appeared in The Calendar, No. 25, of last year:—'The Stewards of the Jockey Club beg to call the attention of gentlemen undertaking the office of stewards of race meetings to the responsibility which they incur for the proper management of such meetings, and express their hope that gentlemen will not accept the office unless they intend to be present, or are fully satisfied as to the arrangements for the conduct of the meeting.' And lastly, the Stewards of the Jockey Club require a guarantee from all promoters of race meetings that adequate arrangements be made for the maintenance of order during the meeting. Since the action of the Stewards in these matters, the Metropolitan meetings have diminished from eight advertised in 1877 to two which have been hitherto advertised for this year. They humbly submit, therefore, that the Jockey Club, through their Stewards, have not been idle in the exercise of their authority, not only with regard to racing matters, but also as to the maintenance of order; and, further, that the said Stewards are ever prepared to entertain and act upon any suggestion with which the Secretary of State for the Home Department might favour them.That the Jockey Club have power to stop these races is manifest by their having done so in the cases of West Drayton, Kingsbury, and Streatham. These are cases in which the Jockey Club have acted; and I have no doubt their rules will be more stringently carried out; in fact, so strictly have those rules been carried out, that the number of Metropolitan meetings has been diminished from eight, advertised in 1877, to two this year. As to West Drayton—where the stand was burnt down—that meeting has been put a stop to by the Jockey Club, an inconvenient practice of neglecting to pay over the stakes having arisen, and the Club insisting that before the meeting is advertised in The Calendar the money must be paid. That meeting has not 109 taken place since; neither has the Streatham, for the reason that they have been unable to advertise in The Calendar, in all probability through being unable to guarantee the 300 sovs. a-day added money. The Kingsbury meeting has also come to an end, seemingly because they could not obtain stewards of character and responsibility. Under these circumstances, nothing calls for legislative interference. Moreover, the magistrates have power to refuse licences to the sporting publicans on whose property these meetings generally take place. My noble Friend has spoken of gate-meetings in terms of reprobation. Did he apply his condemnation to all gate-meetings, without exception?
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
If I am not under a delusion, I have seen my noble Friend at the Goodwood meetings.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
If the noble Viscount had been at Goodwood, he would never have made the remarks. Gate-meetings are not all to be held up to public reprobation. Does the noble Viscount consider San-down one of those gate-meetings? Does he consider that Sandown is not a respectable meeting, and that it is not attended by respectable people? Does not the noble Viscount know that persons of the very highest society, male and female, attend this meeting; and is it to be supposed they would do so, if they were characterized by any proceedings which call for magisterial interference? On the other hand, the magistrates have power to suppress objectionable gate-meetings by refusing the necessary licences for them. My noble Friend has quoted a letter written by the late Lord Derby to Sir Joseph Hawley; but I do not see how the authority of Lord Derby can be dragged into this question, seeing that that letter has reference to handicapping and running young horses, and has nothing whatever to do with gate-meetings. The noble Viscount has carefully refrained from explaining the provisions of the Bill. I will now do so. As I have already stated, and as my noble Friend has also stated, if the principle of this Bill were conceded, that you are to give magistrates the power of putting 110 down these races because they are a nuisance to the ratepayers, I do not see how you can confine the Bill to within 10 miles of London. Why are persons living outside that limit not to have the same protection as those living inside that limit? If you once pass this Bill, and say that magistrates are to decide whether the meetings are to take place or not, it must be extended further. What does the Bill propose? The 1st clause declares what is horse-racing; it says that any race in which any horse runs in competition with any other horse, or against time, for any prize, bet, or wager, and at which more than 20 persons are present, is a horse race. The 2nd clause declares any horse race unlawful which shall take place within a radius of 10 miles from Charing Cross, unless in a place duly licensed, as provided by the Act; and the 5th clause imposes a penalty of £10, or imprisonment for two months, on any person who shall take part in any horse race in any open or inclosed land or place for which a licence has not been obtained. The 6th clause declares that owners and occupiers of ground where unlicensed horse races take place shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and on conviction shall be punishable by a fine not less than £5 nor exceeding £25, or by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than throe. Now, if you pass this Bill, and extend it to the whole country, what will be the effect of it? I ask your Lordships to imagine the case of a number of gentlemen staying in a country house for the purpose of hunting; there may be a dispute over the dinner-table that one horse is not so fast as another horse; and if, on the following day, those gentlemen run their two horses in the park for a bet of a sovereign, and there are more than 20 persons present—which, in all probability, there would be, looking on—why, they would be liable to fine and imprisonment. The gentlemen who had adjourned from the dinner-table to the park would become liable to a penalty of £10 or two months' imprisonment each; and their host, the owner of the park, would render himself liable to a penalty of £25 or three months' imprisonment. I think it likely that if this Bill pass no occurrences of that nature will hereafter take place in any gentleman's park. Then, as to licences—the licence, when obtained, is 111 to run for 12 months from Lady Day. So that any person requiring a licence must make his application at the Michaelmas Sessions preceding, or go without for 18 months. I am as much opposed to these small meetings as is my noble Relative himself. I am equally anxious to uphold the national pastime which has flourished in this country for so long a period; but I think I have fully shown that this Bill is unnecessary and would be tyrannical; and, for these reasons, I think myself fully justified in supporting the Amendment.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that when, last week, his noble Friend (Viscount Enfield) asked him to support this Bill, he told him he was very sorry he could not do so, and that, on the contrary, he should oppose it. The opinion which he entertained when he made that statement to his noble Friend was based on three points—first, the geographical limit to which the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) had alluded; next, that the Bill seemed to be an invasion on the position of the Jockey Club; and, thirdly, that it would be opposed by the Government, who, in matters connected with the police of the Metropolis, had superior means of information to that which private persons could have. But since then he had had some conversation with persons of more knowledge on the subject than himself, and he had attentively listened to the speeches delivered that evening; and the result was that he felt constrained to support the Bill, notwithstanding the appeal of the noble Duke. With regard to the geographical limit, the noble Duke urged that it was impossible to apply to the Metropolitan district regulations which were not to be extended to other parts of the country. Was not that rather a new doctrine? Were there not powers vested in the Metropolitan magistrates and in the Metropolitan Police which were entirely distinct from those exercised in other great towns in the country? With regard to the Jockey Club, nobody was more anxious to support the authority of that body than he was. He thought that in one instance in their Lordships' House he had somewhat conspicuously supported the Jockey Club. His noble Friend the Chairman of Committees proposed a Bill regulating the weights to be used for racing; and he (Earl Granville) 112 opposed it in the strongest manner he could on the ground that horse-racing was a national pastime and had taken great hold on the people of this country; that it was necessarily important, therefore, to have some controlling power over racing, and that it would be very difficult indeed to substitute a better one than the Jockey Club as it then stood. The Jockey Club now was not quite in the position in which it was then. He pointed out to the House that at that time the Jockey Club included not only landowners, Generals, and Admirals, but also two Privy Councillors and seven members who had been Cabinet Minister's, of whom two had twice been Prime Ministers. Now, at present, he was afraid the Jockey Club could not claim as a member either the present or the late Prime Minister. The noble Duke had read a list of some of the most prominent members of the Jockey Club, and they wore unquestionably persons in whom one would have the greatest confidence both for judgment and for knowledge of this particular subject. When he read the list, beginning with the Duke of Westminster and ending with the Marquess of Hartington, and including other distinguished patrons of the racecourse—among them his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Wilton)—it occurred to him (Earl Granville) at once that he had never heard or seen in any newspaper of any one of those distinguished persons being present or running horses at Metropolitan gate-meetings. He thought that in anything with regard to racing there was no more competent body than the Jockey Club; but in this matter there wore other considerations. He was told that at one of the suburban meetings a Newmarket official absolutely refused to go on with his duties any longer because he remarked that the jockeys delayed starting their horses until they got a fleet messenger informing them who was to win. Such questions as these there could be no doubt that the Jockey Club was the most competent authority to deal with. But when there arose the question of nuisance and of peace and order in the Metropolis, it appeared to him that the Jockey Club was not so good a body to control these places as the general body of magistrates. The noble Duke had given his opinion upon the Jockey Club Memorial. As he understood the matter 113 the proposal in the Jockey Club was that they should petition, against the Bill; but there was a great difference of opinion, and the result was a compromise—namely, the Memorial was content with setting out the facts, and leaving the Government to deal with the question. With regard to the Government, it was said they were opposing the Bill, and that there had been "a whip" for the purpose. The noble Duke had given as a reason that the Bill was tyrannical and unnecessary, and that if it passed it would have to be extended to the rest of the country. But in what respect had the measure been changed since the time when it was supported in the House of Commons, not merely by an individual Member of the Government, but by the Home Secretary and his two Under Secretaries, who spoke in the strongest terms in favour of and voted for the Bill? Those Members of the Government might be supposed to be in possession of good information on such a subject; and when he found them supporting the measure as one calculated to effect the object for which it was promoted, he thought he was justified in giving it his support in their Lordships' House.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
My Lords, I am not concerned to deal very closely with the speech of the noble Earl (Earl Granville) who leads this side of the House, because it dealt chiefly with some mysterious agencies that had operated on his own mind that I did not precisely understand, and it dealt also with the more mysterious policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to this Bill, which I still less can comprehend. I have observed this singularity in this debate—that only one speech has dealt with the measure now before the House, and that was not the speech of the noble Viscount who brought it in. He was good enough to express his views on a vast variety of subjects, with a good deal of wit and humour that commended itself to the House, and which everyone must wish to compliment; but I must be allowed, incidentally, to state that this is not a Bill for dealing with assumed names or post-betting, or the delinquencies of the Jockey Club; and as the noble Viscount's speech dealt almost entirely with these topics, I failed to gather any special enlightenment. Agreeing fully, as I 114 do, with his views about post-betting and assumed names, I am not disposed to say that the Jockey Club or owners of racehorses yield in any respect to the owners of former days, and I confess I have investigated that subject from the records of the past. I claim to speak on this Bill with some little knowledge. I approach it from various points of view—as a member of the Jockey Club, as an owner of racehorses, as one who goes to races—which the noble Viscount does not—and as a suburban resident; and I think that from all these four points of view the Bill may be regarded as one that does not deserve the support of your Lordships' House. There are two views, of course, as regards any Bill dealing with racing—there is the racing point of view, and in this case there is the point of view that regards the amenities of Metropolitan recreations. As regards racing, I do not suppose any human being pretends that the improvement of the breed of horses, which is supposed to be the object of racing, is furthered in any respect by the gate-meetings with which you are dealing; and, in a racing point of view, this Bill may be regarded as one which cannot affect racing as a national pastime. But, in the second place, when I come to the regulations that are to protect Metropolitan inhabitants against these "incursions of barbarians" of whom the noble Viscount speaks, he ought to remember—and that is the ground on which I feel myself compelled to vote against this Bill—that there are already three efficient methods of dealing with the matter. There is, first, the Jockey Club. I quite agree that the Stewards of the Jockey Club have been inert in this matter. There I fully admit the argument of the noble Viscount; and except they take more care for the future of these matters, as they are pledged to do, some other means must be resorted to. In the second place, the magistrates can refuse a licence, and that has been found operative; and, in the third place, the Commissioners of Police can refuse the protection of the police. If the noble Viscount thinks this Bill will furnish any more effectual means than these three of putting down these meetings, I do not think he has shown them to us. The fact is that the matter which your Lordships have to consider is one apart from racing. I do not think lovers of racing 115 would have cause of regret if all these gate-money meetings ceased to exist; but I am not unnaturally jealous of the amusements of a free people being tampered with by small measures of this description. You do not know where you are to limit them. The noble Viscount who moved the second reading says no unlicensed racecourse should be allowed within 15 or 16 miles. When you get to 16 miles, you touch the historic race of this country—the Derby. That would place it in the power of the local magistrates of Epsom to put down that race at any moment they may see fit. That would be the effect if the Bill were so amended. I came to this House somewhat wavering as to the expediency of opposing this measure. I confidently anticipated hearing strong arguments in its favour; but every argument which I have heard tends directly against the Bill, and I must record my vote with the noble Lord who moved the Amendment.
THE EARL OF MORLEY
said, the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) had urged as an argument against this Bill that it was impracticable to fix a limit within which it was to operate, and said that if such a measure was passed at all it must be applicable to the whole country. But he (the Earl of Morley) asked whether it had not in countless cases been found perfectly easy to define the exact space to which an Act of Parliament should apply? And why, therefore, should any special difficulty be experienced in the present case? This was not a question of racing or improving the breed of horses—it was really a question in the cause of law and order. The race-meetings to which it referred caused the dregs of the Metropolis to invade quiet neighbourhoods, and were, therefore, productive of great inconvenience to the inhabitants of those neighbourhoods. the Bill did not propose to prohibit these meetings absolutely; what it provided was that when a meeting of this kind was desired it should be necessary to satisfy Boards of Quarter Session that they would be respectably and quietly managed. He trusted that the Bill would be passed, and that the abominable meetings which were held in some quarters at the present time would be put an end to.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
said, he would venture to say that these gate-meetings were attended by a large number of the 116 very persons who were stated in the Bill to object to them. The noble Viscount who had introduced the Bill stated that magistrates at Quarter Sessions, before granting a licence for a race meeting, would have to satisfy themselves that the horses that would be engaged were of the highest class. He thought it would be adding very much to the onerous labours of magistrates to require them to perform such a duty as that. He knew that meetings such as these in the suburbs of London were very objeetionable, and he should, therefore, vote for the second reading.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE
thought that the subject-matter of the Bill would be better left to the consideration and care of the Jockey Club.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
explained that the Stewards of the Jockey Club were willing to act upon any suggestion that might be made by the Home Secretary on this subject. The matter had been discussed at a meeting of the Jockey Club, but no division was taken.
§ LORD ABERDARE
asked whether, supposing these meetings were held in defiance of the Jockey Club and the rules laid down in reference to the class of horses run and the conduct of the jockeys who rode them, what power would the Club have over the meetings?
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
the magistrates have power to refuse to license meetings irregularly conducted, and the Jockey Club would refuse to allow any advertisement of these races in The Racing Calendar. The Jockey Club have the power of preventing horses from being run and jockeys from riding at all race-meetings held under their rules; and the refusal to insert the advertisement of irregular meetings in The Racing Calendar would, consequently, have the practical effect of putting a stop to such meetings altogether.
THE EARL OF AIRLIE
observed, that there were hurdle and other races which did not come under the jurisdiction of the Jockey Club, but which also needed to be controlled.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND and GOEDON
said, that the Grand National Hunt Committee would act in such cases in accordance with the course adopted by the Jockey Club.
THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY
said, it was clear, from the discussion which 117 had taken place, and from the speech of the noble Duke opposite, that the Jockey Club had the power, if they had the will, to apply a remedy for the abuses complained of. He came down to the House intending to vote for the second reading of the Bill; but after the statements made as to the proposed action of the Jockey Club, he did not think that the Bill was necessary. He believed that his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Rosebery) had won a race at Kingsbury.
THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY
said, the noble Earl was himself in America at the time; but he believed that he won a race at Kingsbury with a horse named Halifax.
THE MARQUESS OF HUNTLY
said, the real point at issue was whether the meetings proposed to be dealt with under the Bill could be controlled by the Stewards of the Jockey Club, and he could not doubt they would be.
§ THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
observed, that the noble Duke opposite had said the Jockey Club were anxious to carry out what the Home Secretary desired in the matter. What the Home Secretary desired was that the Bill should pass.
said, that after the tone of the debate and the amount of support offered to the Bill, he preferred not accepting any vague promises on behalf of the racing authorities, but should go to a Division, and any Amendments might then be considered in Committee.
§ On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 84; Not-Contents 57: Majority 27.119
|Canterbury, L. Archp.||Airlie, E.|
|Cairns, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Amherst, E.|
|York, L. Archp.||Beauchamp, E.|
|Bedford, D.||Brownlow, E.|
|Grafton, D.||Camperdown, E.|
|Somerset, D.||Carnarvon, E.|
|Westminster, D.||Cowper, E.|
|De La Warr, E.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Derby, E.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Fitzwilliam, E.|
|Ripon, M.||Granville, E.|
|Harrowby, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Jersey, E.||Cottesloe, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)|
|Manvers, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Morley, E. [Teller.]||Greville, L.|
|Northbrook, E.||Harlech, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|Sydney, E.||Houghton, L.|
|Verulam, E.||Howard de Walden, L.|
|Waldegrave, E.||Keane, L.|
|Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)|
|Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)||Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Hardinge, V.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Powerscourt, V.||Monson, L.|
|London, L. Bp.||Northwick, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Balfour of Burleigh, L.||Robartes, L.|
|Belper, L.||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Blachford, L.||Sherborne, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)||Sondes, L.|
|Stanley of Alderley, L,|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.) [Teller.]|
|Calthorpe, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)||Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)||Tollemache, L.|
|Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)||Winmarleigh, L.|
|Northumberland, D.||Bagot, L.|
|Richmond, D.||Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)|
|Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)|
|Bradford, E.||Colville of Culross, L.|
|Cadogan, E.||Conyers, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||De Freyne, L.|
|Ellesmere, E.||Delamere, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||Digby, L.|
|Haddington, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.) [Teller.]|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.|
|Nelson, E.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Ravensworth, E.||Forester, L.|
|Romney, E.||Gerard, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Gormanston, L. (V. Gormanston.)|
|Saint Germans, E.||Grey de Radcliffe, L. (V. Grey de Wilton.)|
|Stanhope, E.||Inchiquin, L.|
|Strathmore and Kinghorn, E.||Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.)|
|Wilton, E.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Hawarden, V.||Norton, L.|
|Melville, V.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Strathallan, V.||Ribblesdale, L.|
|Alington, L.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)|
|Saint Leonards, L. [Teller.]||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Saltoun, L.||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Skelmersdale, L.||Windsor, L.|
§ Resolved, in the Affirmative.
§ Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed, to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.