HC Deb 03 August 1860 vol 160 cc664-5

said, he would beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, if it is the intention of the Government to take any further measures for the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the condition and management of the Public Lunatic Asylum at Kingston in the Island of Jamaica? Various abuses connected with the building, its want of accommodation, conveniences, cleanliness, ventilation, and proper separation of the sexes, had been discovered by Dr. Bowring, a physician, practising in the island, and laid before the Government; who, however, declined to appoint a tribunal for their investigation.


said that the subject of the lunatic asylum in Jamaica deserved and had received full inquiry. The Colonial Office had done all they could to remedy the evils complained of, but he must remind the House that the institution was in Jamaica and not in England. The Government had not felt warranted in asking the assent of the House either to the sum of money or to the Act of Parliament which would be required before a Commission of inquiry could be sent out to Jamaica. They were unwilling to take any course which could be considered offensive to the colonial Government or to the Legislature; and all they had done was to endeavour, by the influence of the Secretary of State, and of a very able governor, to have inquiry made into those abuses, with a view to their being remedied. All the information which the Government had obtained had been forwarded to the Commissioners of Lunacy, who, with the Earl of Shaftesbury, had interested themselves in the matter.

With reference to the question which had been asked in relation to the Red River territory, he was bound to express his opinion that over a great portion of their territory the jurisdiction of the Hudson's Bay Company had proved of incalculable advantage. Communications had passed between the Colonial Office and the company, which showed that the expectations of colonization on a large scale, which by some had been entertained, were as yet premature. The district, however, was very favourably situated for the purpose, and, doubtless, in the course of time a large settlement would take place. The Session was now too far advanced for the introduction of any Bill; but he hoped that during the recess some understanding would be arrived at, which next year might be made the foundation of a satisfactory measure.