§ MR. WAKLEY,
in rising to move the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Medical Registration and Medical Law Amendment Bill, presented upwards of twenty petitions from medical practitioners, apothecaries, physicians, and surgeons, praying that the Bill might pass into a law in the present Parliament. The right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who last Session had promised to give his aid and assistance in passing a Medical Bill, had intimated, that afternoon, that deputations from some of the colleges had been appointed to wait on the right hon. Gentleman, for the purpose of laying before him the objections which they entertained to this Bill; and at the request of 422 the right hon. Gentleman he had consented to postpone the second reading to Tuesday next. He gave notice, at the same time, that it was his intention to move that, after the second reading, the Bill be referred to a Select Committee. Those who objected to the proposed alteration in the law would then have a full opportunity of stating their objections and of having them refuted; and he trusted that when this necessary investigation was concluded, the House would consent to pass a measure which there could be no doubt would be beneficial to the profession and to the public. Seven Medical Bills had, time after time, been introduced: this was the seventh; and if there were to be seven more, this, at any rate, was the last he would have anything to do with. The state of the medical law was at present must unsatisfactory, and he thought it was the duty of the Legislature to take the subject as early as possible into consideration. Some of the various corporations, he understood, had come to the conclusion that their interests would be injuriously affected, were such a measure as this to be adopted. That might or might not be the case; but, whether or not, the House was bound, in inquiring into the facts, to look to the general interest of the profession, and not to the profit or loss to a few parties. He would beg of the right hon. Gentleman to remember that the objections about to be urged in private by the deputations he had mentioned, ought not to influence the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman on the course he would take; he ought to be guided solely by the facts, and the facts could only be brought to light before a Committee of that House. Back-stairs influence had on too many occasions swayed the decision of that House; and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman was too highminded and of too independent a judgment to give undue importance to the representations which might be made to him in private. He moved that the Order of the Day be read, in order that the second reading might be postponed to Tuesday next.
§ SIR G. GREY
had stated that morning, in answer to a question, during the absence of the hon. Gentleman from that House, that he had received three deputations— one from the College of Physicians, one from the College of Surgeons, and one from the College of General Practitioners all pressing on him the great importance of appointing a day when they might wait 423 on and lay before him the great objections they entertained either to the principle of the Bill or to some of its details, previous to proceeding to the second reading. He had since received three other deputations —one from apothecaries, one from accoucheurs, and one representing individual gentlemen; and the same representation had been made, and the same delay had been asked for. It was quite true, as the hon. Gentleman said, that objections urged in private ought not to influence the course which a Member of that House should take in dealing with a measure of this nature; but as those parties were deeply concerned in the probable operation of the Bill, they had a perfect right to be heard, and it was for this reason he had requested the hon. Gentleman to postpone moving the second reading until next week.
§ MR. HUME
apprehended that the right hon. Gentleman would find it much more convenient to hear the parties to whom he alluded before a Committee up stairs. All the difficulties experienced by the hon. Gentleman, in inducing the House to amend the medical law, had resulted from his having been assailed privately: the facts of the case had always been carefully hid, and the appointment of a Committee was now the only way by which they could succeed in making the question understood and the truth known. He was afraid the right hon. Gentleman would experience a great deal of trouble, and lose the whole of Saturday in listening to these deputations; it would be much better to wait until they could be referred to a Committee.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
thought that the appointment of a Committee would very much depend on the answer which he hoped to receive from a question he would put to the hon. Members for Finsbury and Montrose; would they undertake to employ their time, the one by presiding over, and the other by attending, that Committee, until all the complaints of all the deputations referred to had been exhausted? If the hon. Member for Finsbury would say that he would take the chair of the Committee, and if the hon. Member for Montrose would promise a daily attendance, he (Sir J. Graham) should be very much disposed to support the proposition. Let them not, however, hear of loss of time. If those hon. Gentlemen would not give up their time and attention to hearing the complaints which the Secretary of State professed himself ready to hear, it was not 424 very unreasonable on the part of the House not to entertain with any great favour this Bill.
§ MR. WAKLEY
could make no such promise. He firmly believed that if he did make it, and were to adhere to it, it would be at the sacrifice of his life. He feared that he would have to sit in the chair till one day after eternity. He agreed with the hon. Member for Montrose that the best prospect of obtaining a settlement of the disputed points would be by consenting to the appointment of a Select Committee. [Sir J. GRAHAM: Over which you will not promise to preside.] He would at least promise to work in that Committee to accomplish the end he had in view, and to serve the profession. He did not, however, object to hearing the deputations in private also, and he should accept the invitation of the right hon. Gentleman, and visit him at the Home Office on Saturday.
§ Second reading deferred.
§ House adjourned at Six o'clock.