HC Deb 16 July 1857 vol 146 cc1565-7

Order for Committee read; House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4,


said, he wished to call attention to the abominations which the evidence showed existed in the Scotch private lunatic asylums—a state of things disgraceful to a nation of Christians. In one asylum a poor insane female was found lying in a dark cell, perfectly naked.


remarked, that he entirely agreed with the hon. Gentleman in his observations upon the private mad houses in Scotland, which were utterly disgraceful to the country, but not to the Board of Supervision, which had pointed out the evils which ought to be remedied, and this, too, upon more than one occasion. Private lunatic asylums ought to be subjected to a very vigilant and sharp supervision, which would well and faithfully discharge its duty. He did not place entire credence in the Reports of the Lunacy Commissioners, and thought it was quite necessary in this case to bear in mind the maxim "audi alteram partem."




said, he should be glad to see a clause introduced, rendering illega the confinement of pauper lunatics in private asylums.


said, he would enter his protest against the creation of a new Board, and the new and expensive machinery contemplated by this Bill.


observed, that he also thought the constitution of a new board unnecessary, and uncalled for. He would assert, that though there were instances where lunatics had been treated with peculiar cruelty, yet that was the fault of the Legislature, and the Scotch people were, upon the whole, not by any means to blame for the isolated cases which had taken place. No country had subscribed proportionately more liberally than Scotland for the care and good treatment of lunatics, and the existing system in that country was sufficient to ensure all that was required.


said, a strong feeling existed in Scotland that the Board of Supervision furnished an efficient machinery capable of supplying all the defects of the present system without the creation of any new Board.


remarked, that he also had representations made to him from every quarter in opposition to the appointment of a new Board.


said, that the question was not so much what would be the most expensive as what would be the most efficient machinery. There were plenty of representatives of the ratepayers in that House, but no representatives of the lunatics of Scotland. They seemed to have no friends there, while really they were the persons who stood most in need of being represented.


observed, that as regarded the female found in a lunatic asylum naked, he could wish that it should be ascertained whether or not this female had not shortly previously torn off her clothes, as was often the case?

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 16 were then agreed to.

House resumed. Committee report progress to sit again this day.