HL Deb 19 April 1825 vol 13 cc1-2
The Earl of Darnley

rose, to call their lordships' attention to this subject; but as his intention was only to move for certain papers, to the production of which he expected no opposition, it would not, he said, be necessary to trespass long on their lordships' attention. A committee of the House of Commons had made a report on the subject of the Quarantine laws, in consequence of which, an alteration had been proposed in laws which had preserved the health of this country for more than a century. Some ships, he had heard, had lately arrived from Alexandria, laden with cotton, which had been admitted immediately to pratique. He knew that these ships had clean bills of health. By the former practice, ships with foul bills of health were obliged to remain forty days in quarantine, and those with clean bills, twenty-one days: by the system now to be adopted, ships with foul bills of health, were to remain only fifteen days in ,quarantine, while those which had clean bills of health might be admitted immediately to pratique. This he thought was a delicate and important subject, and required that all the information possible should he laid before their lordships. He would, therefore, move, for copies of the report made to the House of Commons by the committee, and also the number of vessels, with their names, which have arrived from Alexandria, and been immediately admitted to pratique; as well as the orders in council for so admitting them.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, that the alteration which had been suggested, after a full consideration, was not to do away the Quarantine laws; but, by some new regulations on the old system, to relax the severity of those laws. It was the opinion of persons the best qualified to form an opinion, that these laws were not necessary in all their rigour, to preserve the health of the people; and that they were very inconvenient and injurious to the trading interests of this country. He had no objection to the production of the documents moved for by the noble lord, but their lordships would have an opportunity of fully discussing the question, when the bill on the subject came from the other House.

Lord Holland

was ready to admit, that, if any abuse existed, derived from the Quarantine laws, it ought to be remedied. But he hoped their lordships would recollect, that the plague frequently devastated every country in Europe, before the present system of Quarantine was generally established; and that since the Quarantine laws had been in existence, its return had. been comparatively rare. It was the case not only with England, but with every country in Europe; and he hoped their lordships would consider the delicate and important subject with the fullest attention, and not hastily sanction any departure from the present system.