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would be well taken care of, and at com- | He thought ecconomy might be pushed too paratively small cost to the public. By far, if the regulations were left alone to the such an arrangement humanity would be representatives of the ratepayers, and satisfied and the interests of the taxpayers therefore he would suggest that the reconsulted. The plan had been partly re- commendation of a Commission that incommended by a Commission, and therefore quired into this subject should be adopted, he ventured to propose that the Bill be re- namely, that the Government should have ferred to a Select Committee.
power to add to the members of the board Amendment proposed, to leave out from certain persons besides those chosen by the word " That to the end of the Ques- the ratepayers. tion, in order to add the words “the Bill SIR DENHAM NORREYS said he be committed to a Select Committee” in. agreed with his learned Friend in thinking stead thereof.
that the care and well-being of lunatics in Question proposed, “That the words pro- asylums ought to some extent to be placed posed to be left out stand part of the Ques- under the superintendence of the Lord
Lieutenant. MR. HASSARD said, he hoped the noble MR. H. HERBERT said, he wished to Lord would not accede to the request of draw attention to a circumstance in conthe hon. Gentleman. He did not believe nection with the Report presented on this the Report of a Select Committee in a mat- subject last Session. That Report had ter like this would give satisfaction to the scarcely been printed, or at all events cirpeople of Ireland. At present the gover- culated, before a letter was published by nors of asylums were appointed entirely by Dr. Nugent, and apparently under the the Lord Lieutenant, and the grand juries sanction of the Government. The subject had no control over their expenditure. Both of that letter was to attack the Report of these evils would be remedied by the pre- the Commission which, it was alleged, sent Bill, by which it was sought to estab. had attacked Dr. Nugent; and he (Mr. H. Jish a board of visitors for the discharge of Herbert) must certainly complain of its duties, those duties in respect to lunatic tone and temper, and particularly of a asylums which had been so usefully and passage containing these words : satisfactorily performed by boards of super- “ And to show that in the Commissioners' Reintendents in the management of gaols. port a fair equipose has not been regarded, or at Again, there was at present scarcely any all events that it has the appearance of being one
sided." asylum for the admission of lunatics who were in a position by themselves or This was a curious statement for a person their friends to pay in whole or in part for in the position of Dr. Nugent to make. their own maintenance; and the Bill would MR. S. B. MILLER said, he had a very be useful in that respect, since it contained slight acquaintance with Dr. Nugent, but a provision to meet cases of that kind. It it was due to him to state, that he (Mr. would also provide for the safe custody and Miller) believed that every observation in proper treatment of wandering lunatics, of his letter was perfectly justified by the whom there were many in the country, and facts of the case. with respect to whom, though they were MR. KIRK said, he was acquainted with not absolutely insane, the public required the facts, and knew that every word Dr. protection. On those grounds he hoped the Nugent had said was true, with regard to noble Lord would persevere in his Motion the case of an asylum at Armagh, which for a second reading of the Bill in prefer- was admirably conducted, but against ence to consenting to its being referred to which there was a prejudice because the a Select Committee, which would lead to conductor was not a medical man. delay, unaccompanied by the attainment of MR. GREGORY said, he wished to exany good object.
press a hope that the Bill would be allowed MR. SERJEANT DEASY observed, that to go to a Select Committee, as he was of he should not oppose the second reading of opinion that a very good measure might be the Bill which contained much that was made out of it. valuable. At the same time he thought MR. M.MAHON said, he wished to ask the ratepayers were not sufficiently repre. why should not the boards of guardians sented, and he hoped the noble Lord would have some voice in the selection of visitors ? not, whilst the ratepayers were duly repre- He would suggest that the selection of those sented by the grand jurors, neglect the persons should not be left entirely to the rights of lunatics and of the public at large. grand juries, but that the boards of guardians, who had the care of the poor that he was at liberty to publish it, on under other circumstances, should have his own responsibility, and that, as the à voice in the selection of the visiting com- subject was coming before the House and mittee.
the country, for the purposes of legislaMR. J. D. FITZGERALD said, he tion, the more it wat discussed the better. would support the second reading of the He was glad to find that the principle of Bill, because the subject was one on which this Bill had met with such general suphe thought there should be legislation. port, as it was the earnest desire of the He could not, however, conceive that there Government to provide what was very was any danger to the Bill in sending it much wanted in Ireland-namely, into a Select Committee, and he hoped the creased accommodation for the lunatic House would adopt that course, especially poor. The principle of the Bill was clear as the Bill differed materially from the re- and definite, it proposed to substitute a commendations of the Commissioners. But local for a governmental or central managewhilst supporting the second reading of the ment and control. The system which had measure, he must say that he thought hitherto been pursued was not a good one; there was one objection of considerable the Lord Lieutenant ordered a building to weight to it—that objections was, that be erected in some distant part of the while the expense of carrying out the sys-country, the plans were prepared and put tem advocated by the noble Lord would be in execution at the instance of the Board very considerable, no power had been given of Works, and in many cases the first intito the occupiers of land to control those mation that the ratepayers of the localities expenses. The whole control had been had of these asylums having been built was vested in the visiting committee, who were a demand for payment in the shape of an to be appointed by the grand jury, so that imperative presentment. The same might the occupiers would not be represented at be said of their management. Hitherto all. If they were to have a satisfactory the Lord Lieutenant had appointed the measure, those who paid the rates must be governors and officers of the asylum. An fairly represented. The pauper lunatics opportunity now arose for carrying out the under the present system were confined in great principle that had prevailed for many the work houses, and by this Bill it was years - that of putting into local hands proposed to transfer them to the asylums. the management of institutions supported Now under the present plan, one half of out of local rates. All legislation for the the expense fell on the landlord, and the last twenty years had tended in that way, other half on the occupier ; but by the new as witness the Municipal Corporation and system all the expense would be thrown on Poor Law Acts, the Acts for the imthe occupier, and at the same time no provement of fisheries, for vesting works power of controlling those expenses would of navigation and drainage in the hands of be given to him. He directed the attention trustees. The practical working of these of the noble Lord to these objections, in different measures had been attended with order that he might see whether they could success, and he could not see why the not be removed. All he wanted was to lunatic asylums of Ireland should be an make the Bill as good a one as possible. exemption from so wise a rule. The right With regard to Dr. Nugent’s case, he hon. and learned Gentleman who had just made an appeal on behalf of the five Com- sat down appeared to deny that the grand missioners, gentlemen who had performed juries represented the ratepayers. That a most disagreeable, laborious, and unpaid was a matter of opinion; but at any rate, duty, in a most able and impartial manner ; the grand juries were the only fiscal boards and he hoped to hear an approval of their in Ireland known to the law; they were conduct from the Government, and that entrusted with the levy and disposition of the letter that had been written by Dr. the county funds, and although it might Nugent had not been published with their be thought a reform in the constitution approval.
of the grand juries was desirable, that LORD NAAS explained, that shortly after was no reason, so long as they existed, for the Report of the Commissioners was publish- not entrusting to them this duty, which ed, Dr. Nugent represented that he thought was analogous to the other duties they had the general management of the asylums was to perform. The right hon, and learned very much impugned, and stated that he Member also charged him with having dehad prepared a letter for publication on parted from the recommendations of the the subject. He (Lord Naas) told him Commissioners, but with the exception of the appointment of visitors, and with re-in an institution from which hope was gard to the Central Board, he (the noble altogether banished. Of course it oras Lord) had adhered to all the most im- scarcely possible to introduce any menportant recommendations of the Commis- sure into Parliament which might not sion. The Central Board was nothing be susceptible of improvement ; and he more than the present inspectors under should be happy, in the progress of this another name. What he proposed to do Bill, to attend to any suggestions that was to define the duties of every person might be made, but he believed that it connected with these asylums, from the would be difficult to attain the objects highest to the lowest; and in order to en- which they all had in view, if the main prin. force the punctual performance of those ciples of the Bill which he had proposed duties, that there should be a constant were not steadily kept in view. system of inspection carried on under the MR. BRADY said, he believed that tlie supervision of Government. The Lord Lieu- Bill would inflict a great injustice upon the tenant and the Government would be re-occupiers of land in Ireland if the expense sponsible for the proper inspection of these were to fall on them alone. He also obinstitutions, and the inspectors would rejected to placing the proposed power in the port to Parliament. Under the new sys- hands of the grand jury, believing that it tem he believed that not only would the would tend to bring them into collision with management of the asylums be satisfactory, the people at large. They were, he adbut that the attendance of the governors mitted, generally speaking men of high would be regular. This had been far from character, but in many ivstances they had the case heretofore, seeing that, by the exhibited a very arbitrary disposition in the returns of 1856, out of 530 governors of appointments they had made. lunatic asylums in Ireland, 276 never at- MR. MONSELL remarked that the only tended at all, the attendance of the re- question of difference was, what should be mainder appears to be very irregular. The the body who should nominate the goverboards meet generally once a month, or nors of these asylums. He did not see, twelve meetings in the year; and he found however, that that was a question which that out of 530 governors only eighteen could be better discussed in a Committee attended twelve times in the year, and six upstairs than in the whole House, and he of these gentlemen belonged to the Dublin would suggest that a day should be set asylum. Amongst other recommendations apart for the discussion after the assizes. of the Commissioners, he had adopted the He did think that those who contributed compulsory appointment of chaplains, the the funds should be represented in tliese admission of paying-patients, and other boards. matters, so that, with the exception of the Amendment, by leave, withdrawn :two he had mentioned, he had carried Bill committed for Monday, 7th March. out most of the recommendations of the Commissioners. With regard to the want
LOCAL ASSESSMENT EXEMPTION of accommodation, he was perfectly aware
ABOLITION. that to carry this Bill into operation would occasiou a considerable outlay of public money; but the powers which he took to Mr. SOTHERON - ESTCOURT said, provide increased accommodation actually that he rose to move for leave to introduce existed at present, and for the future the a Bill to abolish general exemptions from works would be carried on under the direc. local assessments. The Bill was founded tion of the local authorities. At the same upon the recommendation of the Select time, he did not agree with the hon. Member Committee appointed last year, and the for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell), that it would be grievance which it sought to remedy was desirable to create separate establishments obvious. In many places a large number for what were called incurable lunatics. of buildings had been erected which did Many medical men were of opinion that not contribute towards parochial rating. there were few cases of mania which should | The exceptions consisted of three classes; be pronounced absolutely incurable, and the first, being based upon the prerogative that there were done in which the symp- of the Crown, the second upon statutes, and toms might not be mitigated. To place the third upon non-beneficial occupation. these unhappy persons in an asylum of in- He did not propose in any way to interfere curables would, he feared, lead to cruelty with the first exemption; nor was any such and mal-treatment, and would place them interference recommended by the Select
Committee. He should maintain the ex- country, but a mere equitable distribution emption of churches and other places of of the existing charge. public worship, burial grounds, turnpike MR. JOHN LOCKE said, that the obtolls and highways, Royal parks, and servations of the right hon. Gentleman Palaces under the management of the appeared to have been directed more parBoard of Works ; in addition to which ticularly to Government establishments. there would be a clause in the Bill enacting He wished to know if he intended to carry that none of its provisions should apply to out the recommendations of the Committee exemptions contained in any private or with respect to the rating of museums, local Act of Parliament. Much the largest hospitals, and other public buildings, to class of exemptions comprised those which which he had not alluded in his speech came under the head of non-beneficial oc- proposing the Bill ? cupations. All buildings, such as those MR. COX said, he also wished to inquire which were held by the Admiralty, the whether the right hon. Gentleman proWar Office, the Woods and Forests, and posed making the buildings comprised in the Office of Works, were included under the terın" non-beveficial occupations” liathis bead, not because they were the pro- ble to all parochial rates, or to the poor perty of Her Majesty, but because they rates alone ? were not held by any person who could be MR. J. D. FITZGERALD said, he said to have a beneficial occupation of wished to ask if the Bill extended to Irethem. He proposed, therefore, to abolish land? this kind of exemption, inasmuch as it was Mr. SOTHERON-ESTCOURT said, found to press with undue hardship upon that the word rate in the Bill was, by the many towns in which Government works interpretation clause, to be construed as were situated. The House would probably meaning every local rate and assessment. be astonished at hearing that the value of Every rate, therefore, would be included in the property of that description amounted this Bill. It was also intended to compre. to above £2,000,000; though what the hend all that class of public buildings and annual assessment might be would depend institutions alluded to by the hon. Memupon the difference of rating in various ber for Southwark (Mr. John Locke). It places. He thought, however, it was but exactly followed the recommendations of the fair to say that he estimated the annual Committee, and would extend to Ireland. loss to the public revenue at £250,000, GENERAL CODRINGTON said, he felt taking the average assessment at 28. 6d. in much satisfaction in agreeing with the inthe pound. But although they must er troduction of this Bill. pect that additional burden to be thrown Sir F. SMITH said, he also fully conon the income of the country the different curred in the principle of the Bill. localities might fairly say that they had, Motion agreed to. up to the present time, been bearing a Bill to abolish General Exemption from charge which ought to have been thrown Local Rates (Queen's Recommendation upon the nation at large. The opinion of signified), ordered to be brought in by the Committee was unanimous on the sub. Mr. SOTHERON-ESTCOURT and Sir STAFject and he was convinced that the Bill was FORD NORTHCOTE. conformable to the true principles of rating, Bill presented, and read ]°. and he therefore hoped it would receive favourable attention and be allowed to pass into a law.
POOR LAW BOARDS.-PAYMENT OF
DEBTS. MR. WILSON expressed his obligations to the right hon. Gentleman for introducing
FIRST READING, the Bill, which included, as he understood. MR. SOTHERON - ESTCOURT said, the whole of the recommendations of the he now rose to move for leave to bring in a Select Committee upon the subject. The Bill to provide for the Payment of Debts right hon. Gentleman had adverted to the incurred by the Boards of Guardians in charge which the proposed alteration would unions and parishes, and by Boards of place upon the nation ; but if it were a Management in school districts. The Bill considerable charge to the nation how was rendered necessary by a decision much more grievous must that charge have of the Court of Exchequer, which prebeen felt by particular localities ? It must vented Boards of Guardians from paying be remembered, however, that, after all, debts. The consequence of that decision it was not an additional charge upon the bad been that they had been obliged to VOL. CLII. THIRD SERIES)
deal with ready money, from which some It would be seen, by reference to the inconvenience had arisen. The Bill would pamphlet published by Mr. Rowland Hill, empower Boards of Guardians in future to that in his original proposal it was intended, pay legally incurred debts within twelve not merely that there should be an absomonths, and in certain cases the period lute refusal to deliver unpaid letters, but might be extended to six months more. also those that were insufficiently paid. With regard to debts incurred before The fact, however, that this part of the the passing of the Bill, they would be plan bad never before been acted upon,
led allowed to pay them if incurred within a him to imagine that the several Postperiod of six years ; and he might state masters General, who had held office since that it would be applicable to debts in that time, had some good reasons for not curred by the City of London union, re- following it, or probably that Mr. Rowland ferred to a few evenings ago in the House. Hill himself had, in this respect, altered his Motion agreed to.
opinion. It had been said that the new Bill to provide for the Payment of Debts rule was established to prevent Valentines incurred by Boards of Guardians in unions and annoying letters from being posted of parishes, and by Boards of Manage- unpaid; but this sounded very much like a ment in school districts, ordered to be joke. No doubt some people were pestered brought in by Mr. SOTHERON-Estcourt by receiving unpaid Valentines, but the and Mr. KNIGHT.
annoyance of these few persons was not to Bill presented, and read 1°.
be compared with the inconvenience susHouse adjourned at One o'clock. tained by the public at large from the new
Post Office regulation. It had also been said that the colonial postage must, in many cases, be prepaid, and that as no inconvenience had been suffered from this
rule there was no reason why the same rule HOUSE OF LORDS, should not also be applied to inland letters.
Now, he was bimself responsible for the Tuesday, February 22, 1859. principle as applied to colonial postage.
The accounts between the colonial postCOMPULSORY PREPAYMENT OF INLAND offices and the General Post Office were LETTERS.
extremely inconvenient, and it was desir
able that each country should keep its own THE DUKE OF ARGYLL said, that be share of the postage. There was, however, fore proceeding with the business on the an important difference between letters Paper, he wished to call the attention of abroad and those at home. Foreign and the noble Lord the Postmaster General to colonial letters were not written in a hurry, the recent regulation rendering conspulsory and correspondents knew the period when the prepayment of inland letters. It was they must write. But the writers of inonly an act of justice to the officers of the land letters were frequently compelled to Post Office, and especially to Mr. Rowland write at a moment's notice, and these letHill, to say that he knew of no department ters might refer to matters of life or death, of the public service, the duties of which or to affairs of the last commercial importwere more efficiently discharged, and that
Not being able to see what advanthe new arrangement had not been adopted tage was gained by the new rule that could without mature consideration, yet he could countervail the great inconvenience to the not help regarding the change now adopted public, he thought the change highly inas being in the highest degree inexpedient. expedient. That very day he had been There had been no loss to the revenue from told by a medical friend, that two days ago letters bitherto posted unpaid. On the three letters of importance passing between contrary, there had been some small gain him and his patients were opened and reto the revenue from the double charge made turned to the writers. He had no doubt for them. It had been said in another place that the Post Office clerks were much too that, although there was a double charge, busy to read these letters, but their Lordit fell not upon the man who committed the ships would see the unpleasantness of such fault, but upon the person to whom the occurrences: letter was sent. This, however, was a
LORD COLCHESTER said, he was glad matter between correspondents, and might to have an opportunity of removing some safely be left to be arranged between them. wrong impressions that prevailed on this