HC Deb 17 August 1835 vol 30 cc602-3
Mr. Warburton

presented a Petition from forty-eight Licentiates of the College of Physicians against the revised code of bye laws promulgated by the College, which the petitioners described as containing restrictions not only unjust but illegal. The hon. Member in supporting the petition said, that though he did not mean to deny that the new code was an improvement in some important parts upon the existing bye laws, yet the restrictions which it continued upon the admissions to fellowships were not only most illiberal, but were altogether unwarranted by law. At present the Fellows must be either persons educated at one of our two Universities, or persons especially recommended by the President of the College. The new code preserved this narrow principle of election, or rather exclusion; and it was for this reason that the petitioners disapproved of it. The charter of the College, given it by Henry 8th, did not provide any manner by which the College should perpetuate itself. It merely appointed as Fellows certain persons, and all the members of the profession then practising in London; but no rule of perpetuation was laid down. The Medical Committee, of which he (Mr. Warburton) had had the honour to be chairman, had carefully examined, on these points, a gentleman (Mr. Wilcox) who had made the subject of medical jurisprudence the peculiar object of his studies. This gentleman stated his unqualified opinion, that the charter of Henry 8th having laid down no such rule for perpetuating this corporation, the College had no legal right to establish the restrictions complained of, but were bound to examine licentiates and judge of their claims to admission by their actual qualifications, and not with reference to the place where they had been educated.

Mr. Wakley

supported the petition. After what had been so ably stated by the hem. Member for Bridport, he should content himself with declaring his full conviction, founded upon long experience and examination of the subject, that the College of Physicians, so far from having promoted the utility or honour of medicine, or raised the character of its professors, had been ever since its incorporation, a mischievous incubus. He trusted that the hon. Member for Bridport, who had already done so much on this important subject, would so occupy the leisure of the recess as to be able, immediately on the opening of the next Session, to bring forward a measure founded on the Report of the Medical Committee, putting the profession on an entirely new footing.

Mr. Warburton

said, that he should before this have brought forward such a measure as that proposed by the hon. Member, but for two interruptions. First, the burning of the House, which involved the destruction of nearly two-thirds of the printed evidence of the Committee, which had consequently again to be written out from the short-hand notes, and printed; and secondly, the breaking up of the Ministry. He trusted, however, that in the beginning of next Session, he should be able to fulfil the hon. Member's wishes.

Petition laid on the Table.

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