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Turnpike Acts Continuance; Loan Societies; Highway the Charter-house, had been detained in a Rates; Militia Ballots Suspension; Stock in Trade.
2o. Church Building Act Amendment; Grand Jury Pre-private lunatic assylum for nine years, alsentments (Dublin); Spirits (Ireland); Excise Duties on though he had certificates of four surgeons Spirits (Channel Islands); Unclaimed Stock and Divi-that he was of sound mind, and not a proper person to be so confined.
Reported.-Commons Inclosure; Drainage of Lands; Lu.
Reported.-Gravesend and Rochester Railway.
3o and passed:-Guildford, Chichester, and Portsmouth
Railway; Brighton and Chichester Railway (Portsmouth
Extension); Direct London and Portsmouth Railway;
Lady's Island and Tacumshin Embankment.
PETITIONS PRESENTED. By Mr. Balfour, from Provost,
and others, of Haddington, in favour of Universities
(Scotland) Bill.-By Mr. S. Wortley, from Parramatta, for Repeal of certain Acts relating to the Colony of New quiry into the Anatomy Act.-By Mr. Heathcote, from several places, in favour of the Ten Hours System in Factories. By Mr. T. Duncombe, from Henry Walker, Chemist, 59 St. John Street, for Inquiry into the Treatment of Lunatics, etc.-From Governors of York Lunatic Asylum, for Alteration of Lunatics Bill.-By Mr. Bunbury, from Apothecaries of Carlow, for Alteration of and others, of Haddington, for Postponement of Poor
South Wales.-By Mr. Borthwick, from Churwell, for In
Physic and Surgery Bill.-By Mr. Balfour, from Provost,
Law Amendment (Scotland) Bill.-By Sir J. Y. Buller,
from David Phillips, and Jaspar Parrott, for investigating
Truth of Evidence of J. Parrott, before the Poor Law
LUNATICS.] Lord Ashley moved the Order of the Day for the House to go into Committee on the Lunatics' Bill.
Lord Ashley sincerely hoped the hon. Member for Finsbury, now that he stated the object he had in view in opposing the Bill, would allow the House to go through the preliminary forms, so that the measure might be fully and dispassionately considered and discussed in Committee. He also hoped that nothing which might fall from the hon. Gentleman or any other hon. Member would tempt him to infringe the rules of the House, or induce him to reply in any way that exhibited aught in the nature of irritation or ill-feeling. When he heard the hon. Gentleman say that the Commissioners, in the discharge of their duties, and particularly in their examinations, had conducted themselves with arrogance and intolerance, he must take leave to say that the hon. Member had been most grievously misinformed by those who had made such a statement to him. He would ask him to consult his own heart and his own feelings, and if in his heart and his feelings he found that it would be possible for him, in so solemn an inquiry -an inquiry of so delicate a nature, and
Mr. T. Duncombe deprecated the further progress of the Bill at so late a period of the Session. His objection to the prin-affecting, as it did, the happiness of huciple of the Bill was so great, that he would move its postponement until the next Session.
man beings-to behave with arrogance and intolerance, then he (Lord Ashley) would admit that his brother Commissioners and himself were open to the
to the House that nothing could be more inaccurate than such a charge. It was quite true that the hon. Gentleman gave him notice that it was his intention to bring under the consideration of the House the case of Captain Digby. He had stated to him in private that if it were necessary for the Commissioners to be put upon their
Sir J. Graham, addressing the House, said, that the Government had in-charge. But he would undertake to prove tended to bring in a Bill similar to that before the House; but knowing the great interest which his noble Friend (Lord Ashley) had taken in the subject, and his perfect acquaintance with it, they had gladly handed over the matter to his charge, but they did not for an instant wish to get rid of the responsibility themselves; on the contrary, the Go-defence, and to show their reasons why vernment took upon themselves the whole responsibility of the measure, which they felt would be of great public benefit. He hoped the House would give its sanction to a measure of so much importance, even although it had been unavoidably delayed to a late period of the Session.
Order of the Day read.
Lord Ashley moved, "that the Speaker do now leave the chair."
they could not authorize the liberation of that party, he feared, from the documents which would be produced, that the case would issue in a painful result. He had hoped that he should not have to weary the House by any further statements; and he felt that he was acting with exceeding boldness when he brought forward this measure. He had hoped that his preliminary observations would have been suf
Mr. T. Duncombe said, he had to pre-ficient; but since it was the will of the sent a petition complaining that a man, named William White, a poor brother of
House that he should make a further communication on this matter, he would re
having been visited at all under the old law), and in practice now some of them were visited oftener. A power was also given for discharging any patient who might, after due medical investigation of the case, be considered of sound mind. Licenses could be granted on any of the quarterly boards; and certificates were necessary for the admission of pauper lunatics, as well as returns of them regularly made, and lists of them kept, so that each pauper was seen, and, when requisite, examined on each visit of the Commissioners. Plans of all houses were required, and also of such alterations as might, from time to time, be made therein; and returns of patients in single houses under certain well-guarded provisions for insuring secrecy, were to be annually made to the clerk. Then, each house, containing more than a hundred patients, was to have a resident medical officer; and where the number was less than a hundred, was to be visited by a medical person twice a week. Mr. Gordon's Act was passed for three years, and the Commission was appointed for one year, to be renewed annually. That Commission consisted of several unpaid Members, and five physicians, and it was provided that these five physicians should be paid at the rate of one guinea an hour for their attendance, with power to carry into effect the new Act within the metropolitan
quest them to receive the explanation he | cal men were required; and these gentlewas now about to offer. It would be ne- men were to be members of one of the cessary, in the first place, that he should three authorized medical bodies. These describe the constitution of the Commis- visits must have been paid to the alsion, and retrace the history of legislation leged lunatic within a period of not more upon this subject. In 1828, Mr. Gordon, than seven clear days before his adthen a Member of this House, introduced mission into a licensed house. Every a Bill which afterwards became the Act licensed house was to be visited at least under which the operations of the Com-four times in the year (many of them not mission were conducted, and was, in fact, the law under which their operations were conducted up to the present time. If the House would allow him, he would give a short view of the state of the law by which private asylums were regulated previously to 1828, in order that they might see how they had gone on progressively improving in their legislation, and how they might continue to go on progressively improving; for this was a difficult and delicate question, and no step could be taken without deliberation, and every such step must be justified by past experience. Previously to 1828 private asylums were regulated by the Act of Parliament passed in the 14th year of George III. That was a most important Act, but very defective. There was no power contained in it for punishing an offence, not even for revoking or refusing a license. There was a great laxity in the signature of certificates, one only being deemed sufficient, and that one might be and often was signed by a person not duly qualified, or the proprietor of the madhouse (in his medical capacity), to which the alleged lunatic was consigned. Houses licensed under that Act were not required to be visited more than once a year. There was no power under the Act to discharge any patient who might prove to be of sound mind. Licenses could be granted only on one day in the year. Pauper lunatics were sent to the mad-district. This Act and Commission were house and admitted without medical cer- renewed in 1832, and two barristers were tificates, and no return of pauper patients added on the same terms. About 1834, was ever made to the Board. No plans after having been a member of the Comwere required of houses previously to the mission, he (Lord Ashley) became the granting of licenses; no returns of the chairman of the Commission, which duty cases of lunatics kept singly in houses for he had discharged up to the present time. gain; and, moreover, no visits of medical Now, this Act was renewed periodically persons to the patients. That, in fact, from three years to three years, until the was the state of the law from 1777 down year 1842, when his noble Friend the to 1828, when Mr. Gordon introduced a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Bill which remedied these defects. That (Lord G. Somerset) brought in a Bill for Act gave power to the Board to revoke or three years, the object of which was greatly refuse a license. Sundry offences were to extend the operation of the metropospecified in the Act, not specified in the litan Commissioners. Let the House see old Act, which might be punished as mis-how that Act extended the duties devolved demeanors. Separate visits by two medi- upon these Commissioners. It extended
should now have been called on to weary the House by these preliminary remarks. Well, upon the presentation of that Report, he proposed a motion for an Address to the Crown, praying Her Majesty to take it into Her serious consideration. A discussion arose in the House, and Her Majesty's Government stated that they were so impressed with the necessity of legis
their duties over the whole surface of Eng-four times in the course of a year. So land and Wales, instead of confining them that in the whole, 166 houses, spread over to the metropolitan district and a radius a large surface, were to be visited by the of seven miles round it, and directed that Commissioners, some of them once, others all asylums licensed by the justices should twice, and some four times a year. The be visited twice a year by two Commis- result of these investigations was a volusioners (a physician and a barrister), who minous Report from the Commissioners, were to examine the licenses and certifi- which was presented to the House towards cates, and inquire and report as to rethe close of the last Session of Parliament; straint, classification, occupation, and and he very much feared that the size of amusements. They were also to report that Report, although it was published in on the condition of paupers on admission, the most inviting form, had deterred many diet, and so forth. They were bound to hon. Members from perusing it; because make entries as to particular patients in if the House of Commons had read the patients' book, and empowered to liberate Report, there would have been very little patients in provincial asylums after two hesitation manifested with regard to the visits. The Act likewise directed a phy-two Bills which he had had the honour of sician and barrister (members of the Com-introducing. Nor did he think that he mission) to visit county asylums once a year, and make inquiries and reports similar to those which he had already specified. Then, for the purpose of discharging any increase in their duties, the number of physicians had been augmented to seven, and of barristers to four. And it was also provided by the Act that the Commissioners should receive at the rate of five guineas a day during the perform-lation upon the subject, that they proance of their duties in the provinces. mised that a Bill should be introduced in Such were the provisions of the Act pass- the succeeding Session of Parliament, in ed in the fifth and sixth of Her present consequence of which he (Lord Ashley) Majesty's reign; and immediately after its withdrew his notice. His right hon. enactment the Commissioners entered Friend (Sir James Graham) had already upon their enlarged duties. Now, let the explained to the House why it was that House observe what were the duties which he was entrusted with the introduction of devolved upon the Commissioners. The the two very important Bills before the result of the passing of that Act was, that House. His right hon. Friend was pleased in each year the establishments to be to think that, as he had served so long on visited by them were seventeen county the Commission, and performed the reasylums, or asylums brought within the sponsible and arduous duties of its chairscope of the 9th Geo. IV. (the Act of man, he was the proper person to present 1828), being twelve county asylums, and these measures to the notice of the House. five county and subscription asylums; He undertook the task, because he thought eleven asylums of a mixed character, main-it to be his duty so to do when asked by tained partly by subscription, and partly by income from charitable foundations; and two military and naval hospitals. These would be visited once a year. Ninety-nine houses licensed by justices in session, fifty-nine of them receiving private patients only, and the remaining forty paupers and private patients, would be visited twice a year. Then, in the metropolitan district, there were thirty-seven houses licensed by the metropolitan Commissioners, thirty-three of which received private patients only, and the remainder (four large establishments) both pauper and private patients. These would be visited
the Minister of the Crown, knowing at the same time how much that Minister was overwhelmed by the pressure of public business, and knowing also the great zeal and diligence which his right hon. Friend brought to bear in discharging the important duties that devolved upon him. The House might be assured that it was not from an overweening opinion of his own competency or ability that he (Lord Ashley) had complied with the right hon. Baronet's request. Quite the reverse. He shrunk from the task-not that he shrunk from the labour, or entertained a fear as to the reception which the Bills would
meet with at the hands of the House; but | been much easier for the Commission, as because he did not feel that he had either now constituted, to meet and discharge sufficient influence with the House, or a their duties, although they too were in a sufficient command of ability, to undertake great degree increased; but the moment a measure which he knew must extend the county duties were superadded, and over the length and breadth of the it became necessary that the barristers and realm, and would introduce a new sys- medical men should be absent from their tem on principles which he was quite private practice in London for whole days convinced, if carried out judiciously, together in the provinces, it was perfectly would place this country at the very pin- clear, that then the proper discharge of nacle among the countries which under- the duties could only be secured by havtook to legislate for this unfortunate class ing persons altogether devoted to this of their fellow subjects. The result was, work, and no other. It was necessary, the two Bills which he had introduced; also, to consider the progressively increasthe one to provide for pauper lunatics, ing expenses of the Commission. Observe and the other to render permanent the how those expenses were growing, as Commission, and provide rules for private shown by the Parliamentary Papers; asylums, and for general visitation. He from which it appeared, that in the year would now explain why it was that these ending in August, 1844, they were within particular provisions existed in the Bills, a fraction of 10,000l. In that same year, and particularly the one which he should the payments to the Commissioners alone, bring under the consideration of the House who were paid according to the time emthis morning. The duties of the Com-ployed, had increased, as compared with missioners being so extended in point of the year 1842-3, by 9181. Then, see how surface, and so multiplied in number and many meetings of the Board took place. variety, it became absolutely necessary to In 1842 they held fifteen, in 1840 they consider the present constitution of the held twenty-four, and in 1844 they held Commission. It was quite clear that thirty-one meetings. Now, the sittings of with the Commission, as at present con- those Boards averaged at the very least stituted, they could not go on much longer four hours each, and were attended by in the discharge of duties which were eleven paid members, consisting of seven multiplying every day. In the first place, physicians and four barristers. At this then, it was absolutely necessary to have rate, they cost in 1842, 660l., in 1843, very many more Board meetings, in con- 9561., and in 1844, 1,3647., thus showing sequence of the rapid increase in the bu- an increase in two years of 7041. for exsiness they had to go through. When penses of the Boards alone. On this the Boards were held, they found a greater scale it might be estimated, that in two accumulation of business than they could years' time, viz., in 1847, even if no addischarge with that attention which was ditional duties were imposed, the expenses its due. In the next place, it was equally would have arisen to 12,640l. a year; necessary that there should be more visi- but, supposing additional duties were retations. They found that nothing was so quired, as proposed by the Bill now beeffective for the prevention of abuses as fore the House, in the same period of two successive and unexpected visitings. But years, or in 1847, the expenses would with the Commission constituted as it was, have risen to 14,850l. per annum. it would be impossible that they could the House now observe the duties which to any great extent increase the number the Bill, if carried, would impose upon of their meetings. It was requisite, the Commissioners. See the enormous therefore, in order to obtain a due attend-extent of country to be travelled over, ance, that they should secure the full, entire, and undivided services of professional men, abstracted altogether from any professional pursuits or practice. The accumulation of their duties had very much altered the capacity of the medical men and barristers to discharge them. So long as the duties were confined to the metropolitan districts, that was, London and seven miles round it, it would have
and the additional number of days that must be employed in the performance of that duty. In the first place, all workhouses in England and Wales would require visitation, for there were lunatics in the workhouses of every county, with two exceptions only. With a view, therefore, to efficiency and economy, the arrangement of a permanent Commission was devised, with six paid Commissioners at
salaries of 1,5001. a year each. The total altogether, and they should be rewarded annount of salaries to the Commissioners according to their services. The hon. would be 9,0001. Now, he would beg Gentleman could not have said anything the House to observe, that for this they that so completely proved the necessity of were to have the exclusive and undivided a constant permanent Commission. But services of those parties. It had been there was a new duty imposed on the observed that such a provision was not Commission by this Bill. The Commismade in the Bill; he could only say, that sioners were to have the serious, delicate, such was the intention, and he had since but indispensable duty of visiting those introduced the very strongest words which wretched creatures who were shut up in could be used, in order to show that their single houses. It was a duty, the extent exclusive and undivided attention was to of which they could not as yet form a be given to the duties of their office, and notiou of. In half an hour's walk from that they were not lo receive emolument the door of that llouse, he would underfrom any other source, with the excep- take to say that he would find a hundred tion of private property. Under these persons shut up in single houses. The circumstances it was necessary to hold Bill, provided, however, that notice should out an inducement sufficient to invite in- be given to the Commissioners in such 10 the service men of the highest talent cases, and a certificate signed. [Mr. T. and integrity. The Poor Law Commis- Duncombe: That clause I approve of sioners received 2,0001. a year, and it was more than any other in the Bill.] He proposed that 1,5001. per annum should was very happy to hear it. To execute be given to the Commissioners under this such a duty as the Commissioners would Bill. Their duties would be of a very have to perforin in visiting these houses, harassing nature. They must frequently they must surely devole their serious and be absent from home, devoting a con- undivided services, and they must be siderable part of their time to travelling proper and efficient men. The duty of over the length and breadth of the coun. visitation was one of the most burdensome try. They must necessarily be persons that could be conceived. He had on a of high character, and would be taken late occasion visited a house containing a altogether from their practice and profes- number of private and pauper lunatics, sion, devoting themselves exclusively to and having reached it soon after eleven the services of this Commission, which o'clock, the Commissioners had not finished would be of an extremely difficult and de- the performance of their duty at sevenlicate nature. As to the cost of the Com- when he was obliged to come away and mission, there would be a secretary at a leave his Colleagues behind. It was not salary of 8001. per annum, and two clerks a common service to be performed, but at a salary of 1001. each; then he esti- one of great excitement, difficulty, and mated the travelling expenses at about responsibility. It was necessary that visi2,1501., and sundries at 4301. making tations should be made repeatedly and together a total expenditure of 12,5831. unexpectedly. As the Chairman of such That was the estimated expense of the Commission, he should say, go and visit Commission. As to the provision for such and such a place ten or twelve times superannuation, taking it at the utmost, in the course of a year; and this with a and supposing the superannuation list to be permanent Commission would not increase full, the expense would only be increased the expense, but by the present system the 14,5831. But, however, putting that out Commissioners were paid upon each visiof the question, the expense of the Com- tation a guinea an hour during the whole mission for many years would be 12,5831. time they were engaged; the Bill before He would call upon the House to mark the House, however, would give a sta. how very low an estimate they had taken tionary income. At present the Comof the expense, when they considered the missioners made four hundred and four additional duties which the permanent distinct visits in one year, they travelled Commission proposed by the Bill would | 15,000 miles in the same period, they create. They had calculated upon only also attended 34 boards, they made 404 six additional board days—they ought to separate reports, and they also made 600 have at least two a week. [Mr. T. Dun- entries in the different books, some of combe : It ought to be every day.] Very which which were of great length. Upon well, then that would occupy their time the very lowest estimate, under the pre