§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Earl Carrington.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [THE EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (EARL CARRINGTON) moved an Amendment to extend the prohibition of substitutes not only in the brewing but also in the "preparation or preservation" of beer. The noble Earl said: I ask leave to insert these words so as to carry out the promise I gave on the Second Reading of the Bill. I then said that Clause 1 was intended to deal with hop substitutes at any stage of brewing, pre- 614 paration, or preservation of beer. I was told that that was not sufficiently clear in the wording of the clause, and I promised that if that was so I would be pleased to submit Amendments to effect the object desired. I hope that the insertion of these words where proposed will meet that purpose.
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'brewing' to insert the words 'preparation or preservation.'"—(Earl Carrington.)
§ *VISCOUNT HARDINGEsupported the Amendment, which he said was more or less identical with one standing in his name on the Paper. Their Lordships would remember that on the Second Reading he indicated that this Amendment was absolutely essential in order to make Clause 1 effective in prohibiting the use of hop substitutes in the brewing, preparation, and preservation of beer. If brewers or publicans were allowed to add subsequently, the Bill would be useless to the farmers and hop-growers for whom it was professedly designed. He therefore willingly withdrew his Amendment in favour of the one now moved. He supported the Amendment for another reason. He believed it would be for the good of the people of this country that their national beverage should be absolutely devoid of, and in no way impregnated with, chemical preservatives, which could not but have a most disastrous effect, not only on the constitution of individuals but on the physique of the nation. Therefore, he hoped the Committee would accept Lord Carrington's Amendments on this point. He wished to repeat the assurance that in placing on the Paper the Amendments which stood in his name he had only one desire—namely, to retard the annihilation of a great English industry, and one which was a source of more extensive and lucrative employment than any other agricultural industry in the world. In introducing his Bill on this subject he (Lord Hardinge) had claimed that it did not savour of Protection in any way, and this equally applied, in his opinion, to the noble Earl's Bill. Both Bills sought to give no advantage to the home producer which was not equally extended to the foreigner, and he maintained that both Bills attempted to secure absolute fair play, which he regretted to think up to now had been denied the English grower. He was sorry, 615 therefore, that Lord Carrington should have been accused, on the Second Reading, of having introduced a Protectionist measure. He maintained that it was nothing of the kind.
THE EARL OF MAYO, who had a similar Amendment on the Paper, said that if the Amendment now moved was accepted his would fall to the ground. Lord Hardinge had spoken of chemical preservatives; but the real way the brewers were hit in the Bill was by the definition of "hop substitutes." A hop substitute was defined as meaning any article capable of being used in the brewing of beer as a substitute for hops either for "flavouring or for preservative purposes." Under that provision brewers were hit very hard. The noble Viscount had said that this was a Bill introduced to prevent the annihilation of a great industry. The noble Viscount came from a part of the country where hop growing was the chief industry, and his action in this matter could, therefore, be well understood. But English brewers could not use only hops for preservative purposes. An important Committee considered this subject in 1889 and dealt with hop substitutes and also with preservatives. The Majority Report stated that—
no deleterious materials are introduced into beer by way of substitute for hops.
Then, with regard to preservatives and sundry materials, the Report stated—
None are used which are positively deleterious.
It would be noticed that in the Amendment standing in his (Lord Mayo's) name he proposed to include under the expression "hop substitute"—
any noxious or deleterious substance capable of being used for preservative purposes.
The Majority Report of the Committee went on to say
There may be doubt, as to certain preservatives, whether they increase the wholesomeness of beer…but the importance of soundness in beer is so great to health that it would be inadvisable to discourage the use of preservatives generally.
It should be remembered that those who grew hops used sulphuring, and in the document they had issued containing their reasons against the Bill the brewers stated that—
practically no English hops are sold that are not sulphured, and, provided that the sulphuring is not excessive, brewers do not wish to interfere with that practice.
In olden days it was found that, when the old-fashioned sulphur match was burnt inside a barrel before the beer was put into it, the particular beer put into that barrel kept longer. Science subsequently discovered that there was no necessity for burning sulphur matches, and preparations were used which had the same effect. To say that that was deleterious or spoilt the beer or made it unwholesome was quibbling. After all, English people had been drinking beer for generations. Even if they prohibited the use by brewers of this substitute, there was the fact that when hops went to the brewers they contained a certain amount of sulphur. If the present definition remained in the clause English brewers would have to alter their mode of brewing altogether. He hoped the noble Earl in charge of the Bill would accede to the reasonable request that the definition of hop substitute should not include that particular preservative. It had been suggested that there might be a schedule at the end of the Bill of the things that were not to be used in beer, but it was very difficult to schedule everything. Lord Hardinge, in a recent speech, had alluded to German brewers. German brewers brewed at a very much lower temperature than English brewers. They brewed at a temperature at which a great many organisms could not have a being, and therefore German beer required practically no preservatives at all; but when that beer was exported a preservative had to be put in.
§ LORD EVERSLEY said that Lord Carrington, on the Second Reading, stated that the Government had agreed to prohibit the use of preservatives altogether when the necessary preservation could be obtained by the use of hops. He wished to ask whether the noble Earl adhered to that statement. The present Amendment seemed to him to go rather far.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH asked the President of the Board of Agriculture to tell the Committee exactly what substances he was aiming at prohibiting. He (Lord Balfour) had been informed by two gentlemen engaged in the brewing trade, both Members of the other House of Parliament and both personal friends of his own of long standing, that if this Amendment were carried and the definition of a preservative 617 remained the same the British export trade in beer would be absolutely killed. If the noble Earl could say that he was aiming at prohibiting anything which was of the nature of adulteration or anything which contained qualities that were deleterious to the people who consumed them, he would admit at once that the noble Earl had made out his case. He was as determined an opponent of anything in the nature of adulteration or of anything that did harm to the people who consumed the article in which the substance was put as any man could be; but, as he understood the matter, hops and preservatives other than hops were both necessary for the keeping and preserving of beer. Both hops and these other preservatives had their own functions to perform, and neither one could adequately take the place of the other. He was informed by his friends that the brewing trade agreed, without reservation, to the prohibition of what were called hop substitutes, but they held that substances which were perhaps in part substitutes, but which in the main were preservatives, had never been prohibited and ought not to be prohibited, and that if any attempt were made to prohibit them their Lordships would be going against all the competent evidence in the case, and that moreover, even if it were done, it would not result in any real advantage to hop-growers. He was told that it would not result in the use, for the particular class of beer to which he was referring, of a single lb. more of hops, and consequently it would not help the grower. If the Amendment now proposed were inserted and the definition of preservative remained as in the Bill, brewers would be subjected to grave and unnecessary loss, and in some cases it would go the length of the ruin of their business, and that without any advantage to the hop-grower. Therefore, unless the noble Earl could give the Committee, in plain language which they could all understand, a list of the articles he intended to prohibit, he would take the sense of the Committee against the Amendment.
§ *VISCOUNT HARDINGE pointed out, in reply to Lord Balfour's point as to the necessity of having some preservatives other than hops, that many English brewers who exported beer did not use preservatives of any kind; and years ago, before chemical preservatives were used at all, it was customary to send beer for a voyage to India and back because that was thought to improve it. The hop industry would be wil- 618 ling to accede to the request for exemption in regard to beer for export if the brewers could prove that the use of the substances in question was absolutely necessary.
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I hope and believe I shall be in the enviable position of being able to satisfy everybody. As regards Lord Mayo's question, I can satisfy him by telling him that his Amendment is covered by the Government's Amendment. Therefore he is perfectly safe.
§ THE EARL OF CROMER
Will the noble Earl explain how Lord Mayo's Amendment is covered by the Government's Amendment?
§ EARL CARRINGTON
The same wording is in my Amendment as appears in the noble Earl's Amendment—namely, to insert the words "or preservation." I can also inform the noble Earl that we do not in any way wish to prohibit the use of preservatives generally. He rightly said that sulphured hops are not deleterious to health, and he added that it was reasonable that we should allow hops that had been sulphured to be used in the brewing, preparation, and preservation of beer. Then I have been asked whether the use of sulphur dioxide would be prohibited. The answer to that is No. Under my Bill sulphur dioxide can be used. Then Lord Balfour asked me to state what we were prohibiting. We are prohibiting anything that is a substitute for hops, and I think, in answer to his request to me to enumerate all the substances we propose to prohibit, I might ask him to say what substitutes he would propose to admit. I believe I may say that hop-growers generally do not in any way wish to kill the foreign trade or to interfere unfairly with any great industry; and if, and only if, it can be shown that the promotion of the foreign trade is necessary by putting some kind of preservative in the beer, in order to pass through the ordeal of the Red Sea and to maintain the trade in East India pale ale there is no intention on the part of the Government, or of the hop-growers, to throw any hindrance in the way of that trade's maintenance and development. The sole object of the Bill is to confine the prevention to hop substitutes only. There is no intention at all to cripple or injure the great export trade of brewers.
THE EARL OF MAYO asked Lord Carrington whether he would accept later on the
Amendment standing in his (Lord Mayo's) name, making the expression "hop substitute" mean any article capable of being used in the brewing of beer as a substitute for hops for flavouring purposes—
or any noxious or deleterious substance capable of being used for preservative purposes.
§ That was the whole thing. If the Bill passed in its present form, sulphur dioxide might very likely be regarded as a substitute for hops. Then where would be the brewer?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am afraid the Committee finds itself in rather a difficult position with regard to these Amendments, and I am not quite sure that the statement of the President of the Board of Agriculture has removed the doubts and ambiguities with which the point is surrounded. I think we are not in doubt as to what the intentions of the noble Earl are. He desires not to stand in the way of the use of any preservatives which can be properly described as harmless preservatives. But, then, is he quite sure that the wording of his Bill will not have the effect of preventing the use of these harmless preservatives? He was quite unable to answer the question put to him by my noble friend Lord Balfour of Burleigh and to give us an idea of the substances at which the provision is aimed. My fear is that the union which has taken place between the forces represented by the Board of Agriculture and the forces represented by my noble friend Lord Hardinge, who speaks for the hop-growers, may have the result of bringing very serious disasters upon the brewers, because there does seem to me to be a great deal of evidence, evidence which we cannot neglect altogether, to show that in regard to certain classes of beer, particularly certain classes of beer intended for foreign export, the use of preservatives is really indispensable. I am assured that natural hops do not act as a preservative against certain what are called spurious ferments which develop during the manufacture of beer, and that the only way of dealing with these spurious ferments is by using certain artificial preservatives. I believe it is true that hops and preservatives for beers of that class are both absolutely necessary, and it would really be a very serious matter if the result 620 of our dealings with this Bill were to give a check to the brewing of a particular kind of beer which is largely exported, and any interference with which would probably have the effect of dislocating a branch of the brewing trade. This really is a question for experts. The whole matter concerns the chemistry of the brewing trade, which is a very intricate matter. We must, therefore, look for guidance to the Board of Agriculture, and I own I wish that the guidance were a little clearer and of a kind that would enable us to vote with absolutely clear consciences when we come to a Division.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE EARL OF CREWE)
I quite recognise the difficulty to which the noble Marquess has drawn attention, and it appears to me to consist in this. There is a general agreement that hop substitutes ought to be prohibited, and there is also an agreement that preservatives ought to be allowed. But the difficulty seems to be to distinguish between one and the other. In the case of sulphur dioxide the noble Lord opposite, Lord Mayo, said, How do we know we shall not be told that sulphur dioxide is a hop substitute? I do not profess to be a great chemist, but it is difficult to see how sulphur dioxide could be a substitute for hops. On the other hand, Lord Balfour let fall a sentence which seemed to me rather ominous. He spoke of preservatives which, although preservatives, yet might act as a substitute for hops—some kinds of preservatives which, although described as preservatives, yet might be used as substitutes for hops. I confess that under my reading of my noble friend's Bill those preservatives would be prohibited on the ground that they were hop substitutes, and it might be necessary, therefore, to use some other preservative which could not be said to be a hop substitute, if it was necessary to use any preservative at all. I am bound to say I think that my noble friend behind me was in the right when he said, in reply to the noble Lord who challenged him to produce a list of forbidden substances, that, the objection being taken by the noble Lord, it lay rather upon him to produce a list of substances which he thought ought to be admitted. If there exist these substances which are half substitutes and half pre- 621 servatives, then I am afraid they will fall under the ban of my noble friend's Bill.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH said that where a substance was a substitute and nothing else, he understood the brewers agreed that it should be prohibited; but the fear they had was that if the words now proposed by the noble Earl the President of the Board of Agriculture were incorporated in this part of the Bill and the definition of a preservative remained what it was in the Bill, the article that had been mentioned—dioxide of sulphur—would be prohibited. That was the point. They wanted to know whether that was the intention and object of the noble Earl the Minister for Agriculture. It did not seem quite fair that those who were promoting the Bill should ask him what articles he wanted to preserve for use. He frankly said that he would be willing to prohibit the use of any article which was a substitute pure and simple, more especially if it could be proved to be deleterious or in the form of adulteration. When a Government Department with all the machinery at their back proposed a Bill, surely it ought not to be difficult for them to state in plain terms what it was they intended to do, so that with that information their Lordships might apply their judgment to the question as to whether the Bill did or did not carry out the intention. That seemed to him a perfectly fair proposal and a much fairer one than had been put to him by the noble Earl opposite.
§ THE EARL OF HALSBURY intervened on behalf of his fellow Judges because he foresaw an abundance of conundrums to be propounded unless there was something622
§ more like definition introduced into the Bill. They were not prohibiting something which they knew apparently, but a substitute. What was the meaning of a substitute? It was something that a brewer might or might not use instead of hops. He did not know how widely that might reach, but he could conceive a great many questions arising upon it; and, on behalf of His Majesty's Judges, he protested against words appearing in a Bill which might mean anything or nothing according to the usage of the particular brewer.
§ *THE EARL OF CROMER associated himself with what Lord Balfour had said. He hoped that either now or at a later stage something would be done in the direction of the Amendment of Lord Mayo. Personally he could not see why all noxious or deleterious substances capable of being used for preservative purposes should not be included, and all others excluded.
§ EARL CARRINGTON
In answer to Lord Balfour, I want to state, in the clearest way I possibly can, that it is not our object or intention that sulphur dioxide should be prohibited. As regards the observation just made by Lord Cromer, the use of noxious or deleterious preservatives is already prevented by the Public Health Act, and therefore those words need not be inserted in the Bill.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed to be inserted shall stand part?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 45; Not-contents, 39.623
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Althorp, V.(L. Chamberlain.)||Hamilton of Dalzell, L.|
|Loreburn, L.(L. Chancellor.)||Falkland, V.||Hatherton, L.|
|Wolverhampton, V. (L. President.)||Falmouth, V.||Haversham, L.|
|Goschen, V.||Hemphill, L.|
|Crewe, E.(L. Privy Seal.)||Hardinge, V.||Herschell, L.|
|Hill, V.||Kintore, L.(E. Kintore.)|
|Camden, M.||MacDonnell, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Monckton, L.(V. Galway)|
|Beauchamp, E.(L. Steward.)||Bowes, L.(E. Strathmore and Kinghorn.)||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Carlisle, E.||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Mostyn, L.|
|Darnley, E.||Colchester, L.||Pentland, L.|
|Liverpool, E.||Colebrooke, L.[Teller.]||Pirrie, L.|
|Northbrook, E.||Denman, L.[Teller.]||St. Davids, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Desborough, L.||Shute, L.(V. Barrington.)|
|Sondes, E.||Ellenborough, L.||Weardale, L.|
|Vane, E.(M. Londonderry)||Eversley, L.|
|Rutland, D.||Mayo, E.[Teller.]||Clonbrock, L.|
|Wellington, D.||Waldegrave, E.||De Mauley, L.|
|Dunmore, L.(E. Dunmore.)|
|Ailesbury, M.||Churchill, V.||Hindlip, L.|
|Bath, M.||Cross, V.||James, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Kilmarnock, L.(E. Erroll.)|
|Salisbury, M.||Alverstone, L.||Lawrence, L.|
|Balfour, L.[Teller.]||Leith of Fyvie, L.|
|Brownlow, E.||Barrymore, L.||Macnaghten, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Belper, L.||Newlands, L.|
|Carnwath, E.||Brodrick, L.(V. Midleton.)||Newton, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Brougham and Vaux, L.||Ravensworth, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Calthorpe, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Cromer, E.||Clinton, L.||Sanderson, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative.
§ Consequential Amendments agreed to.
§ *VISCOUNT HARDINGE moved an Amendment to secure that the expression "hop substitute" should mean any article capable of being used in the brewing, preparation, or preservation of beer as a substitute for "or supplement" to hops. Their Lordships were agreed that chemical preservatives were not to be used in beer at all. Therefore, in order to prevent these preservatives being subsequently used he suggested the insertion of these words. The Amendment was in the interest of all concerned in order to prevent further litigation.
In page 1, line 18, after the first ('for') to insert the words ('or supplement to')."—(Viscount Hardinge.)
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I cannot accept the Amendment. It is absolutely unnecessary, and I hope the noble Viscount will not press it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
THE EARL OF MAYO moved an Amendment to make the definition of "hop substitute" read as follows—
Any article capable of being used in the brewing of beer as a substitute for hops for flavouring purposes or any noxious or deleterious substance capable of being used for preservative purposes and includes any preparation of hops the use of which in brewing has not been previously sanctioned by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise.
He said the arguments he had already used applied to this Amendment, and he therefore would not repeat them. The noble Earl had declared that sulphur
dioxide could be used. Then why not put it into the Bill? As Lord Halsbury had said, there was a possibility of endless litigation if the intention of the noble Earl was not clearly stated in the Bill. The noble Earl had conceded the principle; therefore let them have it in the Bill.
In page 1, line 18, to leave out the word 'either' and to leave out the words 'or for preservative,' and after the word 'purposes' to insert the words or any noxious or deleterious substance capable of being used for preservative purposes.'''—(The Earl of Mayo.)
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I really cannot accept my noble friend's Amendment. Some preservatives displace the use of hops and can be fairly treated as hop substitutes and dealt with under the Bill. I very much regret that I am unable to accept the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF MAYO asked whether the noble Earl would agree to a schedule with the simple provision that sulphur dioxide could be used. If so, it could be brought up on Report.
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I am most anxious to meet noble Lords opposite, if possible, and if the noble Earl will let me think over the point I will see if I can meet him in the matter. If I can, I shall be only too happy to do so.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH desired to put one consideration before noble Lords who represented those interested in the growth of hops. Those who were interested in growing hops appeared to assume that because hops had a preservative action, which was not called in question, any other preservative, though 625 it might have a different action and might be used for a wholly different purpose, was a substitute for hops. He could assure their Lordships that that was not the case. It was an absolutely unfounded assumption, and there was no scientific evidence to support it. Hops were a preservative against certain germs and certain evils which infected beer under certain circumstances, but there were other articles, which were also preservative, which had a different action under different circumstances, and the prohibition of which would not lead to the increased use of hops because hops under those circumstances would not be a substitute for the articles he had ventured to indicate. Therefore, it seemed to him of the greatest importance, to avoid litigation, that the matter should be made as clear as possible, and that a distinct list should be drawn up of the articles it was intended to prohibit so that they might judge of them on their merits.
§ THE EARL OF MAYO withdrew his Amendment, reserving the right to move it again, if necessary, on Report.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
*VISCOUNT HARDINGE moved to add to the paragraph defining the expression "hop substitute" the words—
and any bitter article or substance and any preservative other than hops used in the brewing or preservation of beer shall unless the contrary is proved be presumed to have been used as a substitute for hops for flavouring or for preservative purposes.
This would, he said, throw the burden of proof with regard to hop substitutes on the brewers instead of on the farmers. The brewers claimed that they had no objection to the prohibition of hop substitutes, and therefore the provision in the Amendment could not inflict any hardship upon them.
In page 1, line 21, after the word 'Excise' to insert the words 'and any bitter article or substance and any preservative other than hops used in the brewing or preservation of beer shall unless the contrary is proved be presumed to have been used as a substitute for hops for flavouring or for preservative purposes.'"—(Viscount Hardinge.)
§ EARL CARRINGTON
If that is the wish of the Committee, I am quite willing to consent to this Amendment standing over until Report.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ *VISCOUNT HARDINGE moved an Amendment requiring the bags to be marked with "the name of the planter or grower of the hops" instead of as provided in the clause. The clause as it stood prohibited, under a penalty not exceeding £20 per bag, the importation of hops except in bags properly marked with the name of the owner, planter, or grower who packed the hops, of the country, district, and year in which the hops were grown, and the net weight of the hops. This Amendment, he said, would have the effect of securing that all foreign hops, from whatever country they came, should be marked with the same particulars, no more and no less, as were required in the case of English hops. This was agreed to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he received the hop deputation in July of last year. Unless the word "owner" was deleted, they would have the name of the owner substituted for that of the planter or grower in respect of all hops coming into this country, and this, he maintained, would be absolutely useless for the purpose for which the Bill had been introduced. Any dealer would have a free hand in buying hops from different countries, mixing and manipulating different grades, and putting the name of the owner on the pockets just as if they were the unmixed produce he himself had grown. For over forty years this requirement as to marking had been obeyed by English hop-growers, and if the Bill passed without this Amendment they would be protecting the foreign dealer against the restrictions laid down in Clause 4 of the Act of 1866, which English hop-growers had to comply with; they would be confirming and making permanent the unfair advantage that the foreigner had stolen over the English grower through carelessness on his part in the past, and they would be giving the foreigner protection for his produce against the restrictions which the English grower was obliged to submit to. This would be 627 most unfair, because they had to compete in the same market.
In page 2, line 9, to leave out the word 'owner' and to leave out from the word 'grower' to the end of paragraph (a), and to insert the words 'of the hops.'"—(Viscount Hardinge.)
§ *LORD DESBOROUGH said the whole object of Clause 2 was to place the foreign grower on the plane of absolute equality with the English grower. It was, in fact, the Free Trade clause of the Bill. He knew there were some professed Free Traders who seemed to think that Free Trade consisted in placing the home grower under some disability. Those who were supporting this Bill wished to place neither the home grower nor the foreign grower under any disability whatever, but to place them on an absolute equality. It was a penal offence in this country to mix hops of different dates and to sell them indiscriminately. By the law of 1866 hops had to be marked with the name of the grower and the place where they were grown. It was proposed by this Bill to extend that protection against fraud to foreign-grown hops and not to allow the foreign dealer to mix all kinds of hops coming from different localities and of different ages. Under this Bill the date, country, and district had to be clearly marked on each pocket, as was the case in this country, and for the purpose of carrying out this clause it was very important that the name of the planter and grower should be the name that was placed on the bag. The name of the owner was not so important. It was impossible to trace the hops unless the name of the grower was on the bag.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH thought the clause as it stood might have an effect which was not in the contemplation of His Majesty's Government, and which would be intensified if the Amendment now proposed were adopted. From information given to him he believed that, even if the Bill remained as it was, it would accidentally have the effect of discriminating against Austrian, Bohemian, and Bavarian hops in favour of American hops. He was quite sure that could not be the object of noble Lords who spoke for the British hop-grower. He understood it would operate in this way. It happened that in Bohemia and Bavaria hops were mostly grown, where they were grown at all, by very small holders, who could not themselves pack their 628 produce into bales and bags. The hops were collected, he understood, under Government agency, and were packed in this way and exported. If that was the case, it was quite clear that they could not distinguish between the hops grown by particular individuals, but he believed that the hops when packed were certified by a Government stamp as having been grown in a particular district. He was certain that with the well-known sympathy of the noble Earl the President of the Board of Agriculture for the small holder, he would be very unwilling to discriminate against a small holder even though he happened to be in Bavaria, and it could not be to anybody's interest that there should be this discrimination between the Continental grower of hops and the American grower. He wished to be sure that that particular point had not escaped the notice of His Majesty's Government.
§ LORD DESBOROUGH failed to see why a Bohemian small holder should be given greater advantages than the English small holder.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH said he made no suggestion of that kind. The suggestion he made was that if the clause passed as it stood, the discrimination would be in favour of the American as against the Bohemian.
§ EARL CARRINGTON
Lord Balfour has, with his usual clearness, put the case well. He suggested that there might be an effect which was not contemplated by those who wish to see this Bill go through, and he said there might accidentally be a discrimination against Bavarian hops and in favour of American hops. I can assure the Committee that that is the very last thing the Government wish to do, and if the noble Lord can point to any provision in the Bill which does do such an undesirable thing, it will be my first object to remedy that and to put the point absolutely straight. Lord Desborough said this was a matter of some importance. This Amendment is not only of some importance, but it is of absolutely vital importance to the Bill. The noble Viscount said that his proposal had been agreed to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have not got my right hon. friend's words, but I can assure the Committee that that is entirely a misconception. I will get the words, and I think I shall be able to prove 629 that the noble Viscount is mistaken on that point. If this Amendment were carried, there would be another great objection. The great brewing companies, such as Bass and Co., have escaped from having their foreign trade killed, but if this Amendment is passed the home trade of Bass will be killed as well. Rightly or wrongly, Bass and Co. and other brewers have educated the British palate to the taste of Bavarian hops. There is no doubt about it, because Mr. Gretton himself made the statement before Sir William Collins's Committee. He said that fifty per cent. of foreign hops are used by the great firm of Bass and Co. in the excellent beer they brew. This is primarily a legal question. The noble and learned Earl opposite spoke just now as to the way in which the Judges would look on the subject. I dare not enter the lists with the noble and learned Earl, but I would point out that this is primarily a legal question—namely, what are the requirements as to the marking of names on bags containing English hops. It is a legal question, and it has not to be settled by me but by the lawyers. It is these legal requirements and no other that the Government have promised to extend to foreign hop-growers, and the Bill, I am informed, carries out our pledge. I will read what my noble friend Lord Eversley said on the Second Reading of this Bill, as it puts the case in a nut-shell. Lord Eversley said—Lord Carrington has followed the wording of the Hop Marking Act of 1866. Under that Act the name of the owner in substitution for that of the grower may be marked on the bag. Of course, as a general rule the name of the grower only is marked on the bag, but in the rare cases where the grower sells to any person who dries the hops in his own kiln then the name of the person to whom the hops are sold—namely, the owner—can be marked on the bag instead of that of the grower. If my noble friend representing the Government were to adopt the recommendation of the noble Viscount and exclude the word 'owner,' insisting that in every case the name of the grower should be on the bags, the effect would be to exclude a very large quantity of hops from the Continent.Hop-growing on the Continent is a small industry carried on by small men, and it would be absolutely impossible for all their names to appear on the bags when they are sent to this country. If the Amendment is insisted upon and is carried, the Government will have to reconsider their decision; and if this Bill, which we are all trying to carry through in the interests of a hard-working and honourable body of men, is lost, noble Lords opposite must accept the position 630 that the full responsibility for its loss rests upon them.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
If I venture to say one word, it will be in rather a less minatory tone than that used by the noble Earl who has just addressed us. His Majesty's Government are pledged—I think there is no doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a distinct pledge to that effect—to put the foreign hop-grower in exactly the same position as the hop-grower at home. My noble friend, therefore, desires that the origin of imported hops should be disclosed, in the same manner as the origin of British hops is disclosed, by marking the bags, not with the name of the owner, but with the name of the planter or grower, and that is, I must say, at first sight a perfectly reasonable proposal. But the President of the Board of Agriculture tells us, in effect, that those particulars—that is, information as to the person who planted and who grew the hops—are not always obtainable in the case of hops produced abroad, because such hops are very often produced on infinitesimally small plots of land and are handled by Government agents who mix them together and blend them so that the actual origin of the hops can no longer be traced. There does seem to me to be something in that argument, and what I should like to ask the noble Earl in charge of the Bill is whether, supposing my noble friend behind me does not press his words, it would not be possible to meet him in some other way. Would it not be possible, for example, to adopt in whole or part the Amendment which stands in his name further down on the Paper, an Amendment which, I understand, will have the effect of making it obligatory in the case of foreign hops that the place of origin of those hops should be indicated by a mark on the bags? I cannot help thinking that some compromise upon those lines might form a solution of the genuine difficulty with which my noble friend behind me desires to deal.
*VISCOUNT HARDINGE regretted that the noble Earl the President of the Board of Agriculture had seen fit to doubt his statement as to the promise given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hops deputation. Mr. Lloyd-George, in addressing that deputation, said—
I have no fear of the principle which has been impressed upon me—that you should compel these gentlemen to mark their hops with the country of origin and the date of origin. There is nothing unfair in that.
Then he was interrupted by a member of the deputation. The report proceeds—
Mr. BANNISTER (emphatically): 'And the name of the grower, sir; exactly the same as we have to do in all particulars.'
Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE: 'Quite right. Whatever conditions you impose on the British grower should be imposed on the foreigner.'
§ LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH said that so far as absolute equality of conditions between home and foreign growers could be brought about it would meet with his hearty approval; but the point he wanted to make was that this particular form of attempting to do that would have the undesirable result of putting one class of foreign grower at a great disadvantage with another. So far as absolute equality of treatment between all growers of hops in the same market was concerned that had his support, but he was afraid this particular provision would have accidentally a contrary effect.
§ LORD EVERSLEY did not think the Bill as it now stood would have the effect which noble Lords feared. But if the Amendment were carried it would differentiate between hops grown on the Continent and hops grown in America. American hops were grown in very much the same way as English hops, and there would not be any difficulty in an American grower marking the bags with his own name; but the circumstances of hop-growing on the Continent, as he had explained in the few remarks he made on the Second Reading of this Bill, were quite different, and it would be absolutely impossible to mark them with the name of the grower. Therefore, if the Amendment were introduced it would practically prohibit all importation of hops from the Continent, whilst it would give an impetus to the growth of American hops, in connection with which competition had most to be feared by English hop-growers. He thought it would be very undesirable and not in the long run beneficial to growers in this country to accept the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT GOSCHEN pointed out that there were small hop-growers in this country who had these difficulties to contend with under the present law. Their hops had to be marked in the manner proposed, and all that was asked was that the foreign hop-grower should be placed on the same footing.632
§ EARL CARRINGTON
I am so very anxious to get this Bill through that I should be glad to meet the suggestion of the noble Marquess opposite. But I do not budge one iota from what I have said. We consider this Amendment absolutely vital, and we cannot agree to it; but I shall be prepared to consent to the postponement of the matter to the Report stage in order that it may be reconsidered, so as not to put noble Lords opposite in any difficulty as to how they are to vote. I therefore suggest that we should postpone the Amendment to the Report stage, and in the meantime think the matter over quietly and see whether any arrangement can be come to.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think my noble friend Lord Hardinge would probably do well to accept that suggestion. I should like to ask the noble Earl the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will in the meantime consider whether subsection (b) might not run somewhat as follows:—And full particulars to be prescribed by the Board of Agriculture as to the locality in which the hops were grown.That would give a pretty clear indication, at any rate, of the place of origin of the hops, even if you could not give particulars as to the cultivator who grew the particular pocket.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Remaining Clause agreed to.
§ Bill re-committed to the Standing Committee, and to be printed as amended. (No. 111.)