28 AUGUST 1875, Page 3

There is so little sense of fun left in the

House of Commons, that we are sorry to see Sir Wilfrid Lawson's humour degenerate. It has, however, been falling off of late, and his speech of Wed- nesday to the teetotallers of Cumberland assembled in his park, was not much better than a " genial" alderman's, or a Police- magistrate's on Monday. He told his audience that at the pre- sent day "editors could not conceive how any human being could be perfectly happy for twenty-four hours without drink," and stated that magistrates were ordered to establish places for the sale of liquor, a direct inversion of the fact, which is that the natu- ral human right of anybody to sell anything he likes is restrained in the case of liquor, by requiring the sanction of the magistrates. "Almost all magistrates are fond of drink." The "publicans are the picked men of the country," for "a returned convict can be a member of Parliament, but not a publican." The "Chan- cellor of the Exchequer gets £30,000,000 by the sale of drink,"- i.e., in fact, by restricting the sale of drink,—"because he is not clever enough to get it honestly." The Magistrates pass their time in setting drink-traps and fining people for getting drunk. The whole speech is more like that of a jovial toper talking to melancholy topers, than that of a man who sincerely believes that drinking is a crime which ought to be put down by law. There was not an argument in it unless it were contained in some evidence that a Permissive Bill would in Birmingham shut up every public-house, and that is an argument for the Maine Law,