Many of the licences are those of brewers, distillers and publicans, and others in trade, and are paid out of the general profits of the business, so that they can hardly be passed on to the consumers, while other licences are for shooting, for employing carriages and men-servants, and for similar objects, where the charge on the payer is direct.
But the abstainers condemned the bill as inadequate; the publicans denounced it as oppressive; and the whole strength of the licensed victuallers was thenceforward arrayed against the ministry.
They did something to meet the wishes of the publicans, Dis~drs whose discontent had contributed largely to Gladstones defeat, by amending some of the provisions of Bruces licensing bill; they supported and succeeded in passing a measure, brought in by the primate, to restrain some of the irregularities which the Ritualists were introducing into public worship; and they were compelled by the violent insistence of Plimsoll to pass an act to protect the lives of merchant seamen.
The result of his policy was that he became extremely popular with the provincials, but offended many of the publicans, a powerful class which farmed the public revenue.
But in addition there has been from an early time the belief that it was the work of one of those publicans whose heart Jesus touched and of whose call to follow Him the three Synoptics contain an interesting account, but who is identified as Matthew only in this one (Matt.