HC Deb 02 April 1856 vol 141 cc335-51

Order for Committee read. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, he was anxious before Mr. Speaker left the chair to call attention to the peculiar position in which the Bill stood. He had no wish to offer any vexatious opposition to the measure, for he was prepared to admit that legislation on the subject was called for by the general voice of the country, and though some objectionable provisions had been introduced, which, if they were not altered or expunged in Committee, would render it impossible for him to give his assent to the final stage, it was only justice to his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Headlam) to say that he had presented his Bill to the House in a much more simple form than they had been accustomed to in the numerous previous attempts that had been made to deal with the question. What, however, he desired to call attention to was this:—On the notice paper of that morning there were something like 100 Amendments to be proposed in Committee to this Bill. If notice had been given of those Amendments a few days beforehand, so that they might have come prepared to discuss them, or if they were merely of a verbal and formal nature, no objection could have been taken, but some of them went to the whole principle of the Bill, and he would only ask the House how it was possible for any Member of Parliament, even supposing he had no private business of his own to transact, to look through this array of nearly 100 Amendments, compare them with the Bill, and ascertain their bearing upon the measure generally, in a single morning. There were principles involved in those Amendments which he contended ought not to be discussed in Committee at all, as, for instance, the principle of the appointment of the Council, which, as it stood originally in the Bill, the Government, by an Amendment they had given notice of, proposed to reverse. Now, that he considered was a matter which had much better be arranged between the Government and the promoters of the measure out of the House, before they were called upon to go into the details in Committee. The practice generally pursued in regard to the Scotch Bills he thought might be adopted with considerable advantage in reference to this Bill, namely, of arranging all disputed questions involving principle out of the House, leaving the details only to be settled in Committee. Under those circumstances, he should, therefore, appeal to his hon. and learned Friend to postpone the Bill for the present, and arrange with the Government as to the main principles upon which they should proceed to legislate, rather than force on a discussion for which the House could not possibly be prepared. There was another important measure on the paper for that day, the Factories Bill, and he urged that they would best consult the interests of their constituents by passing on at once to that.


said, he was favourable to the general principle of the Bill—namely, that the medical profession should in future be governed by a representative body; but the very first Amendment on the paper was, that that principle should be altogether expunged, and the profession be governed, not by a representative body, but by the nominees of the Crown. It was only within the last few minutes that he had been able to compare the Amendments with the Bill, and it struck him that if such an alteration in principle was intended to be made, it ought to have been proposed on the second reading. At all events, fair notices should have been given to the public and the profession, and the House ought not to be called upon now to discuss the general principle upon the short notice of ten minutes.


said, he regretted that he could not comply with the request made by his noble Friend and the hon. Gentleman opposite; but, in declining to do so, he begged to inform them that he was influenced by no personal motive. It was a matter of indifference to him individually whether the discussion was taken now or at some future time; but to the medical profession, many members of which were now in town from various parts of the kingdom, for the purpose of consulting with their representatives on the subject, any delay would be attended with great inconvenience. Besides, he did not see that they would be in any better position to discuss the question on a future day than they were now. There were differences of opinion as to the constitution of the Council, three distinct bodies laying claim to the right of appointing the members—namely, the Government, the corporate bodies of the medical profession, and the great mass of the medical practitioners throughout the country. He had not the slightest hope, even if they postponed the question for the next ten years, that the least approach to arrangement would be made between those bodies out of the House on the subject. The question whether or not the Government should nominate the governing Council, or whether the nomination should be in the hands of the medical corporate bodies, or the profession at large, or whether there should be a compromise, was one which that House must decide. With regard to the number of Amendments of which notice had been given, it was true there were between seventy and eighty. He had gone through them all, and found that nineteen out of every twenty were mere verbal Amendments; as, for instance, should three registrars be adopted instead of one, then, in all the subsequent clauses relating to registration, the word "registrar" would have to be altered to "registrars." He thought a very exaggerated notion existed as to the extent in which the principle of the Bill was involved in the constitution of the Council. He was satisfied that either one of the modes proposed for electing the Council might be adopted without interfering in any way with the real object and scope of the measure. The only two questions of principle raised by the Amendment were the constitution of the Council—which he could hardly admit to be a question of principle at all—and the point embraced in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Selkirkshire (Mr. E. Lock-hart) as to the licensing power of the Universities. Those two questions the House was in as good a position to discuss and decide upon as it could possibly be at any future time. He saw no reason, therefore, for postponing the measure, thus keeping the mind of the medical profession in a state of needless agitation.


said, that so far from the Amendments being of a merely technical character, the 62nd asserted a principle to which the attention of the House ought to be directed. That Amendment, which was proposed by an hon. Member whose name was on the back of the Bill, prohibited, under a penalty of £5, any person from prescribing medicines or acting in any medical capacity unless he was registered under the Act. He (Mr. Walter) did not stand there as the advocate of any new-fangled system of medicine; but he must say that if British subjects were to have a right of private judgment in anything, surely they were entitled to exercise it in matters which affected their own health. Such a prohibition as that to which he had referred was a matter far too important to be introduced by an Amendment, and one upon which the House ought to come to a decision before going into Committee upon the Bill.


said, that the operation of the Bill would be to throw open the medical profession, and to convert all the chemists and druggists into apothecaries. Although he was himself friendly to the general principle of the Bill, he could not admit that the measure had been received with as much favour as its advocates seemed anxious to represent. The petitioners were exactly two to one against it, there being 800 for it and precisely 1,600 against. The 19th clause, which proposed to give to the Council the power to strike off the list of medical practitioners any one who might be found guilty of anything so vague and indefinite as that comprised in the term "misconduct," was far too loosely worded for a penal enactment; and, indeed, to speak generally, the details of the Bill demanded revision and were susceptible of great improvement.


said, he understood his noble Friend the Member for Middlesex (Lord R. Grosvenor) to have suggested that, in consequence of the numerous Amendments of which notice had been given so recently, the better course would be to postpone the further consideration of the Bill to some future period. That was a proposal which it was to be hoped would assume the form of a Motion, so that the House might decide upon it at once, and avoid the irregularity of discussing the details of the Bill at the present stage. It was no doubt to be regretted that the Amendments in question had been placed upon the paper at so late a period, but for this the Government were not fairly responsible. The reason why earlier notice had not been given of the Amendment—for remodelling the Council—that stood in the name of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Health was simply that it was not until yesterday that the Government had had interviews on the subject of the Bill with deputations representing the various branches of the medical body in the three kingdoms. The day for those interviews had been fixed at the desire of the medical profession, through whose act—and not through that of the Government—it had happened that they (the Government) had not until so lately been put in possession of the views of the faculty with reference to this measure. It appeared to be the general wish of the gentlemen who formed the deputations that the Bill should be brought into Committee with a view, no doubt, to the introduction of very important amendments. They were unanimous in objecting to the present constitution of the Council, and seemed to favour the proposal that the nomination of that body should be left, to a great extent, if not altogether, in the hands of the Government. After collecting the opinions of the different departments of the medical profession, the Government arrived at the conclusion that there were good and substantial objections to the Council as originally proposed to be constituted, and they accordingly placed upon the paper the Amendment that stood there in the name of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cowper). The Amendment referred to by the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Walter)—that which proposed the imposition of a penalty on persons acting as physicians without being duly registered—was, doubtless, a very important one, but there was no reason that he (Sir G. Grey) could see why it should not be carefully considered and satisfactorily disposed of in Committee. It certainly did not occur to him that it was an Amendment so foreign to the general principle of the Bill as to render it necessary that the present measure should be withdrawn and a new one substituted. As the constitution of the Council—a matter to which the hon. Member for South Nottinghamshire (Mr. Barrow) appeared to attach peculiar importance—and all other questions of detail could nowhere be so effectively discussed as in Committee, he would suggest that the Bill should be permitted to pass into that stage without further delay.


said, his complaint was that hon. Members had had no opportunity of consulting with their constituents on the subject of the Amendments.


said, that when the Bill was introduced by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Headlam), that Gentleman remarked that it met with the general concurrence of the different persons connected with the medical profession; but it now turned out, judging by the petitions presented to the House, and the communications made to many hon. Members, that there was no such concurrence at all. The Bill had therefore been assented to on its second reading under what might be termed an erroneous impression. That impression had since, however, to an immense extent, been removed by the petitions and the communications made to hon. Members, and especially by the statement of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary. According to that statement, the different persons connected with the medical profession desired an altogether differently constituted Council; and that was a point of the utmost importance. Individually he (Mr. Walpole) should be prepared to support the principle of the Amendment which the Government had announced; but he could not agree with the Secretary of State in thinking that the House had generally had sufficient notice of the nature of the alterations proposed to be made in the Bill. He did not disbelieve that there were many persons in the House admirably qualified at the present moment to discuss that principle; but he thought it was extremely inconvenient that upon an Amendment involving so important a principle as that now proposed, they should at once go into Committee, without having more time for consideration of the alterations that had been placed on the notice paper. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that it would be imprudent and impolitic to enter into a discussion of the principle of the Bill on the question that Mr. Speaker should leave the chair; but the reason assigned by the Government why at that, the eleventh hour, they had felt it to be their duty to essentially alter the principle of the Bill, afforded, in his opinion, reasonable ground for postponing the measure at the present moment. And he would take leave to add, that if they wished to have a good effective medical reform, that object would be very much facilitated by the promoters of the Bill consenting to refer either the subject or the Bill Itself to a Select Committee. He begged leave, therefore, to move the postponement of the Bill until that day week.


said, he should second the Amendment, because it would really appear as though the doctors were of opinion that their fellow-creatures not in the profession were their material property—their goods and chattels—which they might treat in whatever manner they pleased. The Bill would stereotype all medical knowledge, arrest the progress of scientific discovery, and effectually prevent any advance in the most important of the arts. Nay, more—it would bind us down for all futurity to the compounds and preparations of the pharmacopœia now in use. Against such legislation he, for one, would never cease to raise his voice. If the doctors had had their own way we should never have had chloroform, or any other of the valuable discoveries that, in modern times, had been introduced with such advantage to the interests of humanity. Never was it less expedient for the House to sanction such a measure as this than at the present moment, when, by means of vegetable and animal chemistry, such extraordinary progress was being made in the science of health.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon Wednesday next, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.


said, he was for referring the subject to a Select Committee. He had received that morning a deputation of medical gentlemen who were perfectly in ignorance of the Amendments which had been proposed. The different principles which had been intended for adoption in the constitution of the governing Council representation on the one hand, and Government nomination on the other hand, were entirely antagonistic, and the House should not be called upon to decide between them at twelve hours' notice.


said, the number of Amendments on the paper was, in his opinion, no ground for the postponement of the Bill. If such a ground of argument were admitted, any measure might be swamped by placing a number of Amendments on the notice paper. The proposal of the Government as to the constitution of the Council, however, came upon him by surprise. With regard to the particular Amendment to which exception had been taken by the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Walter), he could only say that to the principle of that Amendment both he and his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Headlam) were decidedly hostile.


said, he thought it a decisive argument for the postponement of the Bill, that the Amendments of which notice was given had taken the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Craufurd) by surprise. But who had put those Amendments on the paper? The Government. The change it was proposed to make by those Amendments was as great as could be imagined, and it was but fair to allow those who would be affected by it an opportunity of expressing their opinion about it. That was the more desirable, as the matter was technical, and the differences of opinion between the hon. Members whose names were on the back of the Bill had placed the House in some difficulty.


said, he felt called upon to offer an observation with respect to the medical corporations which had placed themselves in communication with the Home Secretary. The facts were these:—The Bill under discussion was introduced last Session, and not only was it circulated throughout the country during the recess, but copies were forwarded to each of the medical bodies which had sent deputations to the Home Office. They embodied their opinions on it in the form of Reports which they addressed to the Home Office, and it was from an attentive perusal of those documents that the inference was gathered that there was in the profession a unanimous feeling in favour of the principle of the Bill. There was no discrepancy between the Reports in question and the views now advocated by the medical bodies. There was still a general feeling in favour of the whole Bill, but a difference of opinion existed with respect to various portions of it. That difference of opinion, always entertained, and now only varied in the manner of its expression, had induced the Government to alter their own views on the subject. Such, in a few words, was the present state of the question. One thing was clear to him—namely, that by postponing the Bill he should be acting in direct opposition to the opinions and feelings of all the medical corporations without exception. With that conviction, and the knowledge that the postponement of the Bill would be almost equivalent to its rejection, he could not assent to the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge.


said, he did not think that in this case postponement was necessarily synonymous with abandonment. The Bill as at present framed would injure the Universities, and deliver over graduates in medicine bound hand and foot to the mercy of medical corporations. If the present measure were postponed, he would, on a future day, move for leave to introduce a Bill which was drawn up last Session and privately circulated, and which embodied the views of the Universities—institutions of which he could only remark that, in this instance, their interests were identical with those of the public.


said, he must complain of the imputations sought to be cast on the medical profession by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), and, while admitting with regret the aversion of the medical corporations to reform, he could bear testimony to the high attainments of the gentleman who presided over those associations; and he must claim for the profession generally credit for unselfish motives, and an anxious desire to promote the interests of science. Finally, he was willing to withdraw his Amendment for imposing a penalty on practitioners not legally registered as such, lest its retention should endanger the safety of the Bill.


said, he quite approved of the suggestion to remit the Bill to a Select Committee, by means of which an opportunity would be afforded them to deliberately consider what provisions would be best for the advantage both of the public and the profession. The adoption of that course would, he believed, be satisfactory alike to the Medical College of Edinburgh and to the professors of the University of that city. The great object of any measure of this kind was to secure a perfect standard of qualification, together with equal rights of practice, and a proper registration.


said, his objection was not that that House only, but the public also, had had no notice of the extensive alterations which the Government proposed to make in the Bill. The measure of last year contained the representative principle, but the Government now contemplated the denial of that advantage to the profession. The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary stated that his clause modifying the constitution of the Council was framed out of deference to the opinions of certain individuals connected with particular localities; but those persons surely could not be regarded as the representatives of the great body of the profession throughout the United Kingdom, Their modest request, in fact, resembled one that might have been made, when the Reform Bill was under discussion, by Calne to have itself and Gatton continued as Parliamentary boroughs, while populous places like Manchester were altogether excluded from the representation.


said, that the deputations which had waited upon him before Easter consisted of the accredited representatives of the College of Surgeons and the Society of Apothecaries of London, besides which he saw on Tuesday deputations from the College of Physicians of England and the College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, representatives of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, University College, London, and the graduates of the University of Dublin; and he did not think there was one of them who advocated the composition of the governing Council proposed in the Bill as it stood. They said that the Bill last year did not receive from themselves and the profession as much consideration as it ought to have done, but they were the more anxious to make known their views to the Government; and it was after hearing the subject fully discussed by them that the Government came to the opinion that there were very valid objections to the proposed constitution of the Council. The proposal to refer the Bill to a Select Committee had been alluded to by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), but was not yet before the House. As he (Sir G. Grey) had stated, if the House wished now to go into the question, the Government were prepared, when the House was in Committee, to explain their reasons for the Amendments of which they had given notice; but he did not think it was unreasonable that there should be a delay for considering Amendments of such importance, and if such were the general wish of the House, he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) would be taking an unwise course in pressing the Motion for going into Committee to a division. If an interval of time were agreed to, the parties interested in the Bill might consider the expediency of referring it to a Select Committee.


said, he must apologise for the shortness of the notice he had given of certain Amendments which stood in his name. The truth was, he had not had an opportunity of communicating with members of the medical profession in Ireland until the Easter recess, and his Amendments were intended to give effect to their opinions.


said, that the introducer of the Bill had himself given notice of no less than three pages of Amendments, and it would certainly, he conceived, require a reference to a Select Committee to enable them to understand the alterations which the author proposed to make in his own measure. At the same time he (Mr. Duncombe) must honestly confess that he should vote for sending the Bill before a Select Committee in the hope of getting rid of it altogether—a result which would, no doubt, follow the subjection of the measure to such an ordeal. The Home Secretary told them that the College of Surgeons and the Society of Apothecaries were more or less opposed to the Bill, but not a word did the right hon. Baronet say about the feeling of the public. He (Mr. Duncombe) represented a very mixed constituency, which included doctors and all sorts of persons, and certainly, as far as he could gather the opinion of the people, it was decidedly hostile to any meddling of the kind contemplated by this measure. Was every medical man to be denominated a "quack" merely because he might not be duly registered under the Bill? The homœpathist, for instance, would not be registered; and, of course, the medical oligarchy now proposed to be set up would refuse him a licence to practise. But had the public no rights in regard to this matter? Was a man not to be allowed to judge for himself how he would be treated? The Bill said, "No; you shall be doctored in our way, whether you like it or not." Another most obnoxious Bill, and one most repugnant to the feelings of the people, was lately introduced into that House. He alluded to the measure making vaccination compulsory. Vaccination might be a very excellent thing, but the people had no idea of having a Parliamentary lancet stuck into them or their children at the dictation of the Board of Health. There was no chance, however, he thought, of the measure on that subject passing into law.


said, he would remind the hon. Member for Finsbury that the question before the House was, not whether the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee, but whether it should be postponed for a week. Whatever might be the merits or demerits of the measure, it was very hard, if not unfair, to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) to postpone it for a week, because, if that were agreed to, the result would be, not a delay of one week, but of many weeks, and the Bill would not improbably fail altogether. If the Bill was to be thrown out, let it be thrown out upon its merits, and not by a side-wind, in the shape of a Motion for delay. The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary having proposed important changes in the measure, if the postponement was insisted upon the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Headlam) would be entitled to call on the Government to take charge of the Bill, and put it into the form in which they desired to see it pass.


said, he would suggest that the House should go into Committee, and stop at the clause which the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) proposed to alter.


said, he rose to explain. He understood that an expression which had fallen from him had hurt the feelings of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole). In saying that the proposition for a postponement was like an attempt to get rid of the Bill by a side-wind, he (Sir J. Pakington) had not meant to impute to his right hon. Friend the slightest intentional unfairness, but merely to express his own opinion of the inevitable effect of the course recommended.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 116: Majority 35.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.


said, he wished, after the division that had just taken place, to come to some understanding with the Government. The charge of the Bill had been none of his seeking. In fact, when he originally went with a deputation to the Government on the subject, feeling that such a measure was not one that a private Member could advantageously introduce, he strongly urged the Home Secretary to undertake it. The right hon. Baronet, however, argued, with great apparent plausibility, that if the question were left to the Government it was likely to be thrown over till the end of the Session, when it would have little chance of passing. At the same time he (Mr. Headlam) never would have taken charge of the Bill unless he had felt assured that he would have the co-operation of the Government in carrying it. He had no wish to cast any personal imputation upon any one, yet it was manifest that the Government, by proposing their Amendments at the last moment, had caused the adverse result which the House now witnessed. If they had not voted against him he should have had a majority, and been in a condition to go on with the measure; but, as it was, the Government having completely thrown him over, it was their duty henceforward to undertake the conduct of the Bill.


said, it was true that last year a deputation of medical practitioners, headed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, waited upon him to request the Government to take charge of a Bill which they had prepared, and that he had declined on the part of the Government to do so; pointing, as a reason for his refusal, to the fate that attended previous attempts at medical legislation, which had miscarried at the moment when it was supposed that all was ripe for a satisfactory settlement, owing to grave differences which arose between the representatives of the different branches of the profession. Two Committees in succession were appointed; they heard evidence from different members of the medical profession, and a scheme was devised to be submitted to Parliament, which it was hoped would meet with the general acceptance of the profession. Their hopes, however, were disappointed, and they were unable to propose a scheme to the House with a prospect of a settlement. The deputation, however, replied that their Bill was a very popular one, and free from objections to which other schemes were liable; and that if the Government only took charge of it it would pass with great facility. Being still very sceptical on that point, he then added that even if the Government took it in hand, there would be little prospect of its becoming law that Session, in consequence of the heavy amount of other business with which they were occupied; but, at the same time, he told the deputation that if they had the great confidence in the popularity and success of their measure which they expressed, he could name no private Member more competent to take charge of it in the House of Commons than the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle (Mr. Headlam). He was then asked whether he would agree to the formal introduction of the Bill, merely in order to have it printed and circulated through the country during the prorogation of Parliament; and he gave a ready assent to that proposal. The answers given by many bodies connected with the medical profession at first led him to suppose that the measure might be favourably received, but at a later period the obstacles of which he had warned the hon. and learned Gentleman, whom he thought too sanguine, again appeared, and when the Bill was fixed for Committee the most discordant opinions were expressed by the profession as to its details. This induced him to congratulate himself that the Bill was in the hands of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and not in those of the Government. The hon. and learned Member had assuredly no right to complain of the decision at which the House had arrived. If they had gone into Committee that day no real progress could have been made, and their time would have been wholly wasted. He must decline, on behalf of the Government, to take charge of the Bill, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman persevered with it, he (Sir G. Grey) should move such Amendments as he thought calculated to improve its provisions. It would, perhaps, be better to refer the question to a Select Committee, or even to a Commission, by which, more useful results might be obtained than had flowed from previous inquiries of the same kind; but, at all events, the Government, possessed as they were of the views of the various branches of the medical profession, were not prepared to bring in a Bill on the subject during the present Session.


said, he hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Head-lam) would not persist in his somewhat hasty resolution of having nothing more to do with this measure. He (Mr. Walpole) had no desire to see the Bill entirely rejected. He thought they were now nearer than ever to a settlement of the question; and if the hon. and learned Gentleman, next Wednesday, moved that the measure be referred to a Select Committee, instead of then going on with it in Committee of the whole House, no doubt he would receive valuable assistance from the Government, and be enabled ultimately to establish an efficient registration of medical practitioners, founded on an examination test which would afford a guarantee to the public that the members of the profession were duly qualified for the discharge of their important duties.


said, that the profession were desirous of having a good measure of medical reform, but the medical corporate bodies were opposed to it, and the reason that no legislation took place on the subject was, that the Home Office lent too favourable an ear to the representations of those bodies. He thought his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newcastle had been most unfairly treated by the Government, who had thrown him over at the last moment, after having led him to believe that he would have their support. He hoped that he would not, however, persevere in the intention he had hastily expressed to abandon the measure; for he believed that, if he went on with it, a satisfactory measure might be attained.


said, that the subject before them was undoubtedly a very difficult question, but he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that they were now approaching its solution. He thought there would be no difficulty in preparing a measure which would receive the sanction of the House, and which, though it might not be acceptable to every portion of the profession, would be satisfactory to those who viewed the subject in a calm, impartial, and unprejudiced manner, and would, at the same time, be advantageous to the public. It could not be said with justice that the Bill of the hon. and learned Mem- ber for Newcastle had been opposed by the Government, for they were ready to support the principle of his measure; and because they were anxious that it should be successful, they desired its amendment. He believed there would be no objection on the part of the Government to refer the Bill to a Select Committee, or to recommend the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry.


said, he thought the difficulty of dealing with the subject was evidenced by the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, for since he had been in the House he had heard the same Members of the Government speak on both sides of the question. He had heard the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department (Sir G. Grey) declare that he would vote for going into Committee, but the right hon. Baronet afterwards spoke against going into Committee, and supported his opinions by his vote. [Sir G. GREY: I gave my reasons.] Yes; but the right hon. Baronet also gave his reasons for the course he recommended in the first instance. He (Sir J. Pakington) thought the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle had some reason to complain of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, but after the intimations of the Home Secretary, and of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper), that the Government would consent to refer the Bill to a Select Committee, or to issue a Commission on the subject, he would recommend the hon. and learned Gentleman not hastily to abandon the measure, but to consider which of those courses it might be most desirable to adopt.


said, he regretted the course taken by the Government, and would suggest to his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Headlam) to assent to the postponement, and have a Committee appointed, so that evidence might be received which would convince the Government and the public that some such measure as the present was, in its main provisions, highly desirable.


said, he would also recommend the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newcastle to assent to refer the matter to a Select Committee. He rejoiced the measure was in the hands of a private Member who was competent to deal with it. He hoped the Government would leave the Bill in the charge of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but, at the same time, give him a Govern- ment night occasionally. He would not assent to the nomination plan proposed by the Government Amendment, nor did he entirely approve of the representative principle as embodied in the Bill; but these were entirely matters of detail.


said, he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newcastle would reconsider his decision, and proceed with the Bill, the great principles of which the House seemed disposed to approve of. The question, he considered, was in a fair course of adjustment.


said, that, since the division took place, several hon. Members had pressed him to introduce the Bill on the subject to which he had referred in addressing the House. He begged, therefore, to give notice that he would tomorrow move for leave to introduce a Bill for amending the laws relating to the medical profession; and he thought the best mode of dealing with the question would be by appointing a Royal Commission of Inquiry, and, in the meantime, referring his Bill, and that of the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle, to a Select Committee.


said, he thought the House had had quite enough of medicine for one morning, and that, as the postponement of the Bill had been agreed upon, it was useless to waste further time in discussion. He would remind the House that the remaining period of the day's sitting would probably be occupied in the consideration of an important measure (the Factories Bill) which stood next upon the paper.


said, he would recommend the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle not to abandon his Bill, for he thought a complete registration of medical practitioners and the abolition of those distinctions which now existed between members of the profession in Scotland, Ireland, and England, were measures which would be attended with great advantage.

Committee deferred till Wednesday next.

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