HC Deb 24 July 1851 vol 118 cc1389-91

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 6.


moved the following Proviso at the end of this Clause, namely— Provided always, That in every Dispensary district and other Charity, where only one medical officer shall be appointed, every such officer shall be required to possess the qualification of either 'physician,' or of 'apothecary and surgeon.'


said, he must oppose the Proviso; he considered it calculated to hamper the working of the Bill.


would support the Amendment, because it would secure the appointment of either a physician or a surgeon who had graduated in the University.


saw no utility in the measure at all. What the people of Ireland wanted was food, not physic.


said, that probably the best course would be to omit the Clause altogether, leaving the appointments to the discretion of the Poor Law Commissioners.


opposed the Proviso, on the ground that it would exclude persons who were perfectly qualified, and would fetter the power of choice of the Poor Law Commissioners.


did not think the hon. Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds) had made out a case for the apothecaries.

Question put, "That the Proviso be there added."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 6; Noes 65: Majority 59.


then moved to add the following Proviso at the end of the Clause:— Provided always, and be it enacted, That in making any order or any rules and regulations touching the qualifications of persons eligible to fill the offices of medical attendants to any dispensary, hospital, or infirmary, under this Act, it shall be lawful for the said commissioners, and they are hereby required, to call in the president of the King and Queen's College of Physicians, and the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, for the time being, and in all matters touching such order or rules and regulations respecting the qualifications of such medical attendants, but on no other, said presidents respectively shall have a vote, and shall have equal authority with each of the said commissioners as aforesaid.


hoped the hon. Member would not press the Amendment.

After some conversation, the Amendment was withdrawn.


then moved, as an Amendment, that the Clause should be altogether expunged. The main objection to the Clause was, that it vested monstrous powers in the hands of the Poor Law Commissioners, whom he did not hesitate to say he very much mistrusted. He had no confidence that they would exercise those powers with a sound discretion. He was most strongly opposed to the centralising tendencies of this measure. The fullest powers ought to be given to the local guardians to administer the affairs of the districts in which they lived, and the expenditure of the money which they themselves contributed. It was impossible for the Poor Law Commissioners to discharge these duties to the advantage of the poor, or to the satisfaction of the country. They had hitherto abused their powers most grossly; they had taxed the country most unnecessarily, and had relieved the poor most inefficiently.


supported the Clause. What his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Dunne) proposed was, in fact, a return to the old vicious system; but for himself he entirely approved of a central body in Dublin with the control which this Bill gave them. He considered it to be the only means of checking the frightful diminution of population now going on in Ireland.


hoped his hon. and gallant Friend would not press his Amendment.

After a few words from Colonel DUNNE, the Amendment was withdrawn, and the Clause was agreed to.

Clause 7.


moved an Amendment, to the effect that subscribers of 1l. annually, and donors of 20l., resident in the district, should be eligible to serve on the committee of management of medical charities.

Amendment proposed in page 4, line 3, after the word "therein," to insert the words "and subscribers of one pound annually, or donors of twenty pounds resident in the district."


cordially supported the Amendment.


should oppose the Amendment, as opening a door to the exercise of undue influence on the part of local subscribers in the election of the officers.


hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, would consent to consider this Amendment. It was very desirable to encourage private subscriptions to these institutions, and it was only reasonable to allow private contributors some voice in the management.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 27; Noes 38: Majority 11.

Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 8.

House resumed.

Committee report progress.

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