HL Deb 05 August 1851 vol 118 cc1889-91

House in Committee (according to Order); Bill reported without amendment.


moved the omission of certain words in the first clause, which related to the confirmation of the provisional orders of the General Board of Health for applying the Public Health Act of 1848 to the towns included in the Bill. The words of the clause said, that the provisional order "shall be, and the same is hereby confirmed, so far as it is authorised by the Public Health Act." He wished to expunge the words, "so far as it is authorised by the Public Health Act." These words led to endless litigation, and rendered it impossible in many cases to carry into effect the intentions of the Legislature. This remark particularly applied to the town of Reading, where the Commissioners under the Act of 1848 found themselves completely paralysed.


did not then intend to oppose the principle of the Amendment of the noble Duke; but he put it to his noble Friend whether, looking at the lateness of the Session, and the state of public business, he would not withdraw his proposition for the present, in order not to endanger the passing of sanitary Bills for another year.

After a few words from the Earl of SHAFTESBURY,


consented to withdraw his Amendment, and trusted that the Government would consider the whole subject in the interval before another Session. The present mode of bringing in so many separate Bills of this character in a single Session, was highly unsatisfactory, and calculated to bring the General Board of Health into disrepute. It was plain that unless that Board was to be swept away entirely, its powers must be placed on a different footing. The Government must either repose implicit confidence in the Commissioners, or the functions of the Board must undergo a revision.


thought the Amendment of the noble Duke would enable the Board of Health to make provisional orders without confining themselves (as required by the original form of the clause) within the limits prescribed for them by the law. He was certainly not inclined to assent to any such proposition; and, indeed, after what had taken place the other night with respect to that very sensitive body, the General Board of Health, he was rather disposed to keep a sharp look-out upon them, to see that they did not go beyond the bounds of the law.


was surprised that the noble Lord could be so grossly ignorant (if he would excuse him the expression) of the state of the facts as to suppose that the Board of Health were entitled, unless these words were retained, to act contrary to the law of the land. They were just as much bound, without the insertion of the words he had proposed to omit, to act within the limits of the law, as they could be if the words were retained. In fact, the words were perfectly useless, except in producing endless litigation. In the case of the General Enclosure Act, which he had the honour of introducing into the other House seven years ago, and which had since worked very satisfactorily, the Enclosure Commissioners had kept within the law, without the restraint of these words, and they had avoided the litigation which had so embarrassed the General Board of Health.

Amendment withdrawn; Amendments made; and Bill to be read 3a To-morrow.

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