§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD CARRINGTON,
in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that its object was the isolation and treatment in suitable hospitals of persons suffering from cholera, and that the introduction of the Bill had been considered absolutely necessary for the public safety of the Metropolis in the event of a cholera epidemic. England would not be free from this danger for another month, and to avoid, if possible, any opposition to the Bill, it was proposed to limit its duration to September 1, 1884. In 1855 the main Bill for the prevention of cholera was passed, called "The Diseases Prevention Act," which gave powers to certain local authorities amply sufficient for preventing the disease. There had been, however, some difficulty in putting these powers into force on account of the number of Vestries; and with this difficulty the present Bill proposed to deal by falling back on the managers of the Metropolitan Asylum district, whom it was proposed also to make a local authority under the Diseases Prevention Act, and subject to the authority of the Local Government Board. This, the object of the Bill, was contained in the 2nd clause. The next most important clause was the 4th, which related to expense. 246 At the present moment the 38 different Vestries, or District Boards, would act for 38 different areas, and their expenses would be a local charge. So that, if the epidemic broke out very badly in any particular parish, the whole cost of dealing with it would be thrown on that parish. This clause provided—That the amount expended by any local authority under the Act of 1855 in providing any building for the reception of patients, together with two-thirds of the salaries of officers and servants, should be repaid from the Metropolitan Poor Fund.A deputation of the managers met the President on Thursday last, and expressed themselves willing to do all in their power. They would constitute themselves the first line of defence, and trusted to work in harmony with the Vestries and Boards of Works. Under these circumstances, he moved that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Carrington.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said, that the Bill gave very large powers with reference to other diseases than that of cholera. Though it was very right to take special powers to deal with the cholera, it was scarcely necessary to include other diseases within the scope of the Bill. At all events, he did not think that the Bill ought to be passed into law, under the circumstances of the moment in their Lordships' House, many of their Lordships who took an interest in the matter being absent. The Bill ought to be subjected to a rather more complete discussion than it was likely to have on the present occasion; and he thought that a Schedule should be furnished of the infectious diseases, so that they might know on what grounds the authorities would have the right to spend the public money. Considering that the authority given by the Bill was only to last for one year, very large duties were to be performed—for instance, among other things, wharves or landing places, not exceeding three in number, were to be provided on the River Thames, as well as convenient approaches thereto. This was likely to be a very expensive amusement, whether the wharves were purchased or specially constructed. Though he thought it necessary to make these observations on the Bill, he had no 247 intention of opening the second reading.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he had the impression that one of the great principles upon which the late Government acted was that of a care for the public health; and he was, therefore, somewhat surprised at the attempt of the noble Marquess to throw discredit on this Bill.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.
§ House adjourned at half past Nine o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Four o'clock.