§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
THE MARQUESS TOWNSHEND
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, he regretted that a subject of such importance had not been taken up by the Government. If during the Plague of London certain districts had been placed under regulations in order to prevent the spread of the visitation, while in other districts no precautions were taken, it would have been thought very anomalous; yet this was 97 the course the Government were pursuing in applying preventive measures to certain garrison towns, while leaving the rest of the country uncared for. No reason could be given why the civil population should be excluded from the benefit of the Acts, nor why our soldiers and sailors should lose the protection which they enjoyed at certain garrison towns if they removed to other places. London was the very hotbed of the disease; and here, if anywhere, the provisions of the Acts were necessary.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Marquess Townshend.)
THE EARL OF MORLEY
thought that, considering the delicate nature of the subject, he should be consulting their Lordships' wishes by confining his remarks within as small limits as possible, especially as a prolongation of the discussion could lead to no practical result, and was likely rather to injure than promote the cause of those who desired an extension of those Acts. His noble Friend proposed to extend the operation of the Contagious Diseases Acts front garrison towns to the metropolis, and ultimately to the whole country. The noble Marquess must excuse him if he declined to follow him through the arguments by which he endeavoured to support that proposal. A Commission had already been issued by the Government to inquire into the operation and effects of the law as it at present stood in relation to this subject. That Commission had been issued at the earnest request and desire of a large proportion of the Members of the House of Commons, and in consequence of a feeling which had been loudly expressed in many parts of the country adverse to the existence of those Acts. Considering that a Commission was sitting upon the subject, it was in his opinion premature now to bring the matter forward. He hoped, therefore, that the Bill would be withdrawn.
THE MARQUESS TOWNSHEND
thought that the appointment of the Commission had the effect of delaying legislation upon the subject.
§ Motion and Bill (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.