HL Deb 16 March 1840 vol 52 cc1193-5
Lord Ellenborough

, in moving that the House should go into committee on the Vaccination Bill, said, that since it was last before their Lordships, he had seen the Poor-law Commissioners on the subject. He had agreed to certain suggestions made by them, and they had acceded to his views on other points. He wished, therefore, that the bill should now go through the committee, and be printed with the amendments.

The Marquess of Normanby

had no objection to such a course, but he hoped the noble Lord, at least for the present, would postpone including Ireland in the provisions of the bill, the Poor-law Bill not having yet come into operation in that country. The Poor-law Commissioners had not had time for communicating with that Member of the Board at present in Ireland.

Lord Ellenborough

thought the bill would be more favourably received in another place if it included Ireland, and, so doing, would remove the imputation that that country was neglected. He was perfectly aware the bill would be inoperative for the present, but it would gradually become so. If the noble Marquess wished to strike it out he had no objection.

The Marquess of Normanby

would not make any further objection on the subject at present. He agreed with the noble Lord the bill would be more favourably received in another place if it included Ireland. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether he had understood correctly, that he had under his consideration another clause, which not only went to the promotion of vaccination, but the prohibition of inoculation by persons with no medical qualification. He had been in communication with the President of the College of Physicians, and many others connected with the profession, and it was the unanimous opinion the bill would not effect half the objects contemplated by it unless some penalty were attached to prevent the very great evil which arose from this practice. He would suggest to the noble Lord whether it would not be possible to frame a clause, which, without preventing inoculation altogether, did so with regard to persons who had not the proper medical qualification.

Lord Ellenborough

said, his principle was rather to lead men to do that which was proper, by showing them the benefits that were likely to accrue from such a line of conduct, than to compel them, by penalties, to pursue it. If, however, such a clause as the noble Marquess recommended were introduced, he should not oppose it, although he was adverse to the principle.

The Marquess of Lansdowne

said, it was right that some provision should be made to prevent the numerous and daily mischief which arose, in consequence of ignorant persons inoculating with the small pox virus. It was not enough that men should be induced by persuasion to pursue a course that tended to their own good; it was necessary, also, that ignorant people should be prevented, by legal enactments, from doing evil to others.

The Bishop of London

said, it was well known that, in agricultural districts of the country, there had not been for many years past the least difficulty in obtaining vaccination gratuitously, but many of the ignorant poor were strongly prejudiced against it, and paid a much greater attention to empirics than to the advice of the clergy. He thought the bill would not do half the good that was intended, unless those persons were prevented, by penalty, from practising inoculation.

Lord Ellenborough

would not oppose a clause calculated to produce the effect desired by the right reverend Prelate.

Lord Ashburton

thought every one practising inoculation should report the same to the registrar of the district.

House in committee.

The Marquess of Normanby's

clause, imposing a penalty on any non-professional man who should inoculate any patient, agreed to.

Bill went through the committee.

House resumed.