HC Deb 03 February 1818 vol 37 cc142-3

Lord Binning moved for leave to bring in a bill for erecting District Asylums in Scotland, for the care and confinement of Lunatics. The noble lord expressed his wish to have the bill printed, and that any farther proceeding upon it should stand over until after Easter, in order that the people of Scotland might have a full opportunity of considering its merits.

Lord A. Hamilton

said, that two-thirds of the people of Scotland had disapproved of the noble lord's former bill on this subject. He was connected with a part of the country where a lunatic asylum was lately erected, which he considered a model for such buildings. He hoped this bill would be subjected to the same examination in Scotland as the former bill.

General Fergusson

expressed his disinclination to oppose the introduction of the bill, but reserved the declaration of his opinion upon its merits for a future stage.

Lord Binning

admitted that objections to the former bill were very generally entertained in Scotland. His object in delaying any proceedings as to the bill till after Easter, was in order to give the people of Scotland time to examine it, and to consider the very material changes he had made in the measure. The great objection formerly was, to the appointment of general commissioners, to carry the measure into effect. Now county commissioners were substituted, excepting two commissioners to be appointed) by the secretary of state, for the purpose of seeing that the objects of the act should be generally effected.

Mr. Wynn

approved of the object of the bill, and took that occasion of expressing his regret and surprise, that notwithstanding the horrible scenes described to that House in a report from a special committee three years ago, no legislative measure had as yet been passed, to provide against the continuance or repetition of such cruelties. Unfortunately the right hon. gentleman who was so active in his inquiries upon this subject (Mr. Rose), was now no more; but the subject ought to be taken up by some other member, and if no one else more competent should undertake the task, he himself should feel it his duty to propose a bill upon this important subject. [Hear, hear!]

Lord Binning

stated, the new bill would substitute county assessments in aid of these asylums, in preference to parochial assessments, which resembled too nearly our poor-rates, in the conception of persons in that part of the kingdom.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.