moved that this Bill be now read 2a. His Lord- 1035 ship passed rapidly over the clauses of the Bill; and said, that as to the objection that the county would have to pay the expense, the House of Commons represented the ratepayers, and they had passed the Bill; and he was convinced that under this Bill the expenses would be reduced fully one-half. There was an opinion amongst some of their Lordships that the Bill should be referred to a Committee up-stairs; but, if that were done, what hope could there be of the Bill passing this Session? Several counties were waiting for the passing of the Bill, and the delay would be very injurious. He therefore earnestly recommended their Lordships to read the Bill a second time.
§ The Duke of Richmond
admitted that a Bill of the sort was much required, but he objected to the present, because it was a very bad measure. He, therefore, wished to refer it for amendments, in the first instance, to a Select Committee. He did not know why this anxiety for legislation had come upon the Government so suddenly; why did they think that these pauper lunatic asylums were necessary, when they themselves sent all the old lunatic sailors from Greenwich Hospital to Warburton's, at Bethnal-green, where they were well taken care of. He also resisted that part of the Bill which threw the whole expense upon the county-rates, by which they would be greatly augmented. He should have been glad to have seen a portion charged upon the owners, and not entirely upon the occupiers of the soil. To refer it to a Select Committee would rather promote the passing of the measure, when it was fit to become law. After the second reading he should move that it be referred to a Select Committee.
§ On Question, Resolved in the Affirmative. Bill read 2a.
The Lord Chancellor
suggested that the farther proceeding on the Bill should be deferred, as a message was waiting from the Commons, in order to procure the expunging of a clause which had, accidentally and erroneously, been inserted.
After a remark from Lord Beaumont, on the disadvantage of hasty legislation,
The Message from the Commons was brought up, requesting their Lordships to expunge a clause in press 126, which had been erroneously inserted in the engrossment of the Bill, the same not forming part of the Bill as passed by the Commons.
Messengers informed that the Lords 1036 would send an answer by Messengers of their own.
A short discussion then took place as to the regular course of proceeding, and Lord Cottenham suggested that the Bill ought to be sent back to the Commons, that they might make their own Amendments.
The Lord Chancellor
referred to a case which he said was precisely in point, and occurred in 1836, when the Commons requested the expunging of a proviso wrongly inserted in the engrossment of the Marriages Bill. The proviso was accordingly expunged without sending the Bill back to the Commons, and then the Bill, as amended, went through its various stages. The Marriage Bill was then in the same stage as the Bill now before the House.
§ The Earl of Devon
said, that the case of 1836 was then a new precedent, different from the mode of proceeding in any former instance.
The Lord Chancellor
added a reference to a case in 1803, which had been quoted and relied upon by Lord Melbourne in 1836, when what was now proposed by the Commons had been done. The other course would be attended with much inconvenience.
§ Lord Cottenham
still recommended that the Bill be sent back to the Commons as the more regular course of proceeding.
moved—That the Proceedings already had in the said Lunatic Asylums and Pauper Lunatics Bill be vacated, inasmuch as it appears, by the Message of the Commons of this Day, that the Bill as sent up to this House was not the Bill which had been agreed to by the Commons.The said Motion was agreed to; and ordered accordingly; and the aforesaid clauses were ordered to be expunged; and a Message was sent to the House of Commons, to acquaint them therewith.
§ Then the Bill was read 1a.