Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XX.]                Various Topics.                            281
Practical v. Unpractical Temperance Reform.
In the session of 1863 Mr. Joseph Somes, M.P. for Hull, introduced a Bill into the House of Commons for the total closing of public-houses on Sundays. One day in the summer of that year I was walking down the Bayswater Road in company with him, and I said to him, " If you would propose to reduce the Sunday opening hours from, say, 8 to 4, and proceed by steps, I think you will reach total Sunday closing much sooner than by trying to accomplish so extensive a change all at once." Mr. Somes's reply was:"I am very much inclined to agree with you, but I have promised the Total Sunday Closing Party to take up their Bill as it stands, and it is too late for me to make any change in my position." Since that conversation 47 years have elapsed, and the total Sunday closing of public-houses seems almost as far off as ever. The trend of public opinion is to a slight extent favourable, but very little legislative progress has been made, because too violent a change has been proposed all at one jump.
English and Welsh.
It fell to my lot in 1888 to travel over many of the West Midland parts of England and Wales as an Assistant Boundary Commissioner under the " Local Government Boundaries Act, 1887," to take evidence preparatory to a proposed re-adjustment of the boundaries of some of the West Midland Counties. One day I was lunching with the clergyman of Chirbury, Shropshire, and he gave me the following example of the intense jealousy which prevailed between the English and the Welsh, even as late as the 19th Century. He told me he had met a bov in the street crying bitterly, and on his asking the cause, the boy said: " Please sir, I called John Jones [or some such name] a Welshman, and he said he was not a Welshman, and he hit me on the head because I called him so." The allegation was, in fact, an insult, and regarded as such. This, no doubt, was an
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