3 JANUARY 1880, Page 11

Sir Stafford Northcot,e presided on Tuesday at the thirty-first annual

dinner of the Exeter Licensed Victuallers, and made a very sensible, if also a very politic, speech, in which he pointed out how much every country owes to its innkeepers and the managers of its various places of entertainment, and how unjust people are apt to be to them, solely because they are the instruments of selling to the public the intoxicating drinks which the people so often abuse. He insisted, too, on what is -very true,—that the Licensed Victuallers themselves, if they would but try, could do more to promote temperance, and by promoting temperance to promote their own interests, and to remove the unjust prejudices against them, than any conceivable legislative enactments, without their aid, can ever effect. All this is very just, and would be very praiseworthy if Sir S. Northcote were not a party leader, and if it did not unfor- tunately happen that just at present the Licensed Victuallers appear to think that it is their interest to vote for the Tories. As it is, the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not need to be told that, politically, it is very wise for him to conciliate this powerful interest ; and also his interest not to say, viat it would, nevertheless, be well that they should hear, fttit it

is mischievous for trade interests to throw their influence on one side or the other,—no matter on which,—without rela- tion to any politics except the politics of the trade. Licensed Victuallers, like lawyers or journalists, should be politicians first and professionalists afterwards. It is the best proof you can give of not deserving political influence, to use it mainly for

the purpose of pushing your professional fortunes. •