HC Deb 05 May 1870 vol 201 cc279-80

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the vacancy in the Scotch Lunacy Commission, caused by the retirement of Dr. Brown, has been filled up by the appointment of another paid Commissioner in opposition to the evidence given by the Lord Justice Clerk before the Commissioners on Scotch Offices, to the effect that one paid Commissioner would be now sufficient to carry on the work of the Lunacy Board, in opposition also to the recommendation of those Commissioners, that the Boards of Supervision and of Lunacy should be amalgamated, and notwithstanding the request made on behalf of the Select Committee now sitting on Scotch Poor Law, that the vacancy in the Lunacy Commission should not be filled up until the Report of that Committee had been presented to the House and considered by Her Majesty's Government; if the vacancy has been so filled up, what special or urgent reasons have caused him to disregard the several official remonstrances addressed to him on this subject, although for many months past one paid Commissioner had practically been found sufficient to carry on the business of the Board; and, what is the date on which the appointment was made?


said, in reply, that the appointment alluded to by his hon. Friend had been filled up because, in the opinion of the Government, it was absolutely essential for the efficient performance of the duties of the Department. The Members of the Lunacy Commission of Scotland were two Commissioners and two assistants. The duty of the two Assistant Lunacy Commissioners was to travel about and examine the state of the various lunatic asylums; while as to the Commissioners, one had to be always present at the Board, and the other travelled about and examined asylums. These duties could not be performed well by any one Commissioner, and though attempts had been made during the illness of one of them for the other to fulfil those duties, it was satisfactorily proved to him (Mr. Bruce) that such a state of things ought not to be allowed to continue. There had, however, been no such recommendation as that referred to in the Question of his hon. Friend.


said, he would give Notice that he would, in Committee of Supply, take the opinion of the House on the propriety of altering the salary of the second Commissioner.