HC Deb 17 August 1857 vol 147 cc1733-4

said, he would beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether Mr. F. O. Ward has been correctly reported to have said, at the International Congress at Brussels, in September last, that the application of the Public Health Act to two hundred houses in England has diminished the mortality by fifty per cent, and has in their vicinity quadrupled the fertility of the soil? In consequence of the quotations made the other night by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Cox) from the speech supposed to have been delivered by Mr. Ward at the Congress alluded to—that gentleman being a friend of his—he (Mr. Coningham) was anxious to clear his character from any erroneous impressions which such quotations might have conveyed.


said, that Mr. Ward was not officially connected with the Board of Health, but as he had with great zeal and ability supported the adoption of certain sanitary measures which he (Mr. Cowper) believed had been the means of saving the lives of many thousands of the population, he had shared in some of the misrepresentations which had been lavished on the Board of Health. He had before him a copy of the speech made by Mr. Ward at the International Congress held last September at Brussels, and could deny the correctness of the quotations made. The fact was that the extracts referred to were wholly disjointed—one half of the gentleman's meaning being conveyed without the remainder. Mr. Ward did not rate the mortality in the whole town nor that arising from all causes in the way alleged; he only spoke of the mortality in certain wretched portions of the metropolis, and as arising from the effects of impure air and putrid water. And Mr. Ward's state- ment was fully supported by the returns of the official authorities on the subject. In respect to the other subject to which Mr. Ward alluded, that gentleman was speaking of the increase of fertility occasioned by an improved distribution of the sewage, and was only alluding to what was well known to have taken place in Edinburgh, Ayr, and other towns. If the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Cox) were in his place he would no doubt confirm that part of the statement, at all events.