HC Deb 28 March 1832 vol 11 cc1017-8
Mr. Dawson

was anxious, before the House went into Committee, to call the attention of his Majesty's Government to a transaction which had given rise to considerable excitement in the neighbourhood in which it had occurred. It appeared that a woman and her child had died suddenly in the vicinity of Grosvenor square, and that, on the inquest which had been held it was found that both had died from the disease called Cholera. This the husband, who is an Irishman, denied, and collected a vast number of his countrymen together, and surrounding the House where the woman and child lay dead, they prevented the parish authorities from entering it for the purpose of removing the bodies. A scene had thereby ensued such as never before had been seen in this metropolis, but bearing a strong resemblance to the combined meetings which from time to time appeared in Ireland for the purpose of resisting the laws of the country. The husband, who was outrageous in his attacks on the medical men who pronounced the cause of death to be Cholera, had, as he (Mr. Dawson) was informed, been that morning seized with the symptoms of the same disease, and at the present moment, he believed was lying dead. The combination still continued, and the removal of the three persons was still prevented by the mob. If such a system was allowed in the very heart of the metropolis, what dreadful calamities might be apprehended! He understood that application had been made by the parish authorities to the Secretary of State to know whether or not they should be justified in removing the bodies by force, but with the result of that application he was unacquainted. His object in thus bringing the subject forward was, to make the public acquainted with the melancholy fact, that the disease did prevail in the metropolis, and that those who had set themselves up against it, and denied its existence, had, in a few hours, themselves fallen victims to the malady. The case which he had brought before the House was one calling for the interference of the Government, for, unless strong mea- sures were adopted to enforce the law, the extent to which the disease might prevail could not be foretold.

Mr. Ridley Colborne

corroborated the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, and thought with him the Government were called on to adopt strong measures in support of the parish authorities.

Mr. Lamb

was not aware of any communication having been made at the Secretary of State's office. None had taken place with him personally, nor had he heard of the subject until he had come down to the House. He agreed that the parish authorities must be supported, and that the arm of the law by the police must interfere; for it was the duty of the Government to lend every possible aid to prevent a recurrence of such a state of things as that he had just heard.