HC Deb 30 April 1838 vol 42 cc719-22

Mr. F. French moved the second reading of the Medical Charities (Ireland) Bill.

Mr. Smith O'Brien

hoped, that the hon. Gentleman would not that night press the Bill to a second reading, as a great number of Irish Members wished to take part in the discussion.

Mr. F. French

was sure that his hon. Friend would object any further to the course he proposed, when he understood that the discussion was to take place in Committee. An arrangement had been made by the delegates from Ireland, which was sanctioned by the English and Scotch Colleges, and which was approved of by Sir B. Brodie, Sir A. Cooper, Sir A. Carlisle, and others. They were anxious, before the discussion took place, that the details of the Bill should be before the House, and that some alterations should be made. He merely meant that the Bill should go into Committee pro forma, and afterwards that the discussion might take place.

Mr. Wakley

said, that with the understanding that the Bill should be brought forward at an early period of the evening; before the Committee was gone into, he hoped that no objection would be made to the course now proposed by the hon. Member for Roscommon. The Bill, in his opinion, required very material alterations.

Mr. O'Connell

observed, that the importance of the Bill could not be exaggerated; and if it were not brought on at an early hour in the evening, it would be impossible to have its merits discussed without an adjournment.

Sir Robert Peel

hoped, that an opportunity would not only be given for a full discussion upon the general principles of the Bill; but also, that portion of it in which the medical practitioners were so deeply interested. A full opportunity ought to be given for considering that very important question. There ought to be an interval of time between the details of the Bill being laid before them, and the moment when the House would be called upon to take them into consideration.

Sir Robert Fergusson

remarked, that there were two principles in this Bill—one was that in which the medical practitioners felt most deeply interested, and the other was that to which he most strongly objected, namely, that which gave a power to a certain Committee of medical gentlemen to have placed under them the medical charities in Ireland, and to assess the counties in Ireland as they might think fit. He could not allow the second reading of the Bill to pass unopposed, if it were intended to retain that part of the Bill. The Grand Juries of Ireland ought not to be deprived of the power of regulating and controlling the expenses to be imposed upon the rate-payers by any superintending Charity Board whatever. He would not wish to give to any such board the power of imposing what sum they liked, without the Grand Jury being able to control the expenditure. He objected so much to that principle in the Bill, that he should move that this Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Mr. F. French

was as anxious to save the amount of the county cess as the hon. Member who had just spoken. That which had been objected to, he did not hold to be a part of the principle of the Bill, as the principle was for the extension and protection of medical charities in Ireland.

Mr. Warburton

said, that there was one portion of the Bill to which he objected, namely, that the commission under the Bill, to whom very great powers were given, was to consist only of professional men. If there was to be a Board of Management, there should be laymen added to that Board.

Lord Clements

believed, that the strongest objection would be felt to this Bill. He took that opportunity of saying that he intended to vote against it. He did not expect the Bill could go through Committee. If he were to vote for the Bill, one of the most essential principles of the Bill must be omitted by his hon. Friend. This Bill gave a contract of money to others than those who paid the tax. He could not consent to take the money of the cess-payers, and leave it to the control of those who did not pay cess. He admitted that great advantages must be derived from improving the position of the great medical colleges, and therefore, this Bill would be so far beneficial; but he objected to its introducing the power of taxing the Irish people for purposes of obtaining an advantage for medical people. He objected to the Bill altogether, and was then prepared to go into its discussion.

Viscount Morpeth

called upon the House to give its support to this Bill, because the object of it was not that which it had been represented to be. They could not have a full and proper discussion on the Bill before it was committed, as they were prepared to make very essential alterations in it. Hoping, then, that his hon. Friend would be allowed to proceed with the second reading, with the understanding that plenty of time would be given for its subsequent discussion, he begged to be understood as no further pledged to the principle of the Bill than this, that he expected they would be able to devise some efficient mode for the inspection of medical charities in Ireland. As to the composition of the Board, and the particular powers to be given to the Board, they were points which required the greatest consideration.

Bill read a second time.