HC Deb 10 March 1832 vol 11 cc88-9
The Lord Advocate

, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the bill that lately passed for the prevention of Cholera in Scotland, begged to say a few words as to its object. In order to meet the expense incurred under the former bill in Scotland, it was expedient to establish a cess: and though this was known when the Bill was passing through the House, it was deemed advisable to omit any provision of that sort then, in order that further time might be afforded for the purpose of considering in what way that cess might be most judiciously effected. It was quite clear that, in order to make a just and equitable cess, recourse must be had to some standard of value that should refer to all alike; and, in the Bill that he now moved to introduce, he had endeavoured to attain that object; but should it be found that he bad not entirely overcome all the difficulties, he trusted that allowance would be made for the intricacy of the subject, and for the very short notice at which he had been obliged to bring the question forward. If, indeed, the present Act were to be a permanent one, he should have many misgivings on the subject; but when he considered that it would, as he hoped, be very temporary in its operation, and that it was only introduced for the purpose of meeting a great and pressing calamity, he trusted that the measure would not be scrutinized with too jealous an eye, but that it would be adopted in the spirit in which it is intended; especially as it was not by any means meant that it should form a precedent for a cess in Scotland.

Sir William Rae

had no intention to throw any obstacles in the way of the present sill; but he must still say, as he had on a former occasion stated, that, in his opinion, the better course would have been to have left the matter entirely in the hands of the Privy Council. He would also take this opportunity of observing, that he felt disappointed at the selection of persons made for the Board in Scotland. It was understood that the matter was to be intrusted to the care of persons of high and responsible station; and he had, therefore, been surprised to observe the appointments made on party principle. When this matter was formerly before the House, the learned Lord certainly gave an assurance that this should not be the case, and yet he found that several eminent men were omitted who, he had no doubt, would have willingly afforded their assistance, and those persons were selected who were known to be violent party men. He must also state his opinion that much might be done in Scotland by voluntary contributions, which would, in a great degree, prevent the necessity of a compulsory assessment.

The Lord Advocate

said, the only ground on which the choice was made was, to look to those who had been most active in their exertions, as well as most successful. He assured the House it was on those grounds alone that the selection was made; he, therefore, very much regretted to hear that it was supposed they had been actuated by party feelings in such appointments.

Mr. James E. Gordon

said, the great officers of state ought to have been appointed to the Board, and it was a great oversight not to have placed the Lord Provost of Edinburgh among its members.

The Lord Advocate

said, the objection to the appointment of that gentleman was, that his was an office of limited jurisdiction, and, as the authority given by this appointment would extend throughout Scotland, it was thought there might be some objection to confounding a limited with an unlimited jurisdiction.

Leave given.