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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Another Plea

Another Plea.

A more plausible plea, however, is that Committees have in some cases compelled applicants for licenses to erect palatial houses, and that they are therefore entitled to perpetual renewals, or compensation if at any future period a renewal is refused. As far as can be ascertained no such cases have ever occurred. Committees may, in many cases have refused to grant or renew licenses on the ground that the house did not provide the accommodation required by the 38th section of the Act. Knowing this, applicants for licenses may consequently have gone before Committees with elaborate designs for palatial houses and asked if those would satisfy the Committee. Of course they would, as they were far beyond what the section referred to directed the Committee to insist on. But in such cases the Committee did not require the magnificient structure to be erected; all that they could, or it is believed ever did, require was that the accommodation prescribed by the Act should be provided. Beyond that the Committee had no power to require anything, and probably never did so. If the house did not provide that, the Committee had no power to grant a License at all; but if the applicant (not in reality being the intended publican, but some wealthy brewer or other capitalist), chose to go beyond the laws' requirements and build a palace, with the view of making it attractive, doing a big business and getting a large profit, knowing all the time that the license was only a yearly one, he certainly did it solely at his own risk. If, however, there ever was any such "understanding" as the liquor traffic claims, let the compensation be paid by the members of the Committee who were parties to it. The people have certainly a right to protest against being saddled with the consequences of the act of the Committee.