§ Amendments reported.
The EARL of WALDEGRAVE
moved the omission of the 15th clause, which prohibited hackney-carriage drivers from receiving into their vehicles any persons suffering from infectious, cutaneous, or contagious diseases.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said, the clause had been introduced in consequence of representations made to the Government that persons suffering from various infectious disorders, such as smallpox, were frequently conveyed to hospitals in public cabs—a practice which tended greatly to disseminate disease; and it was to meet that evil that the clause was framed. Some of the hospitals and a few parishes had provided conveyances, by which persons afflicted with contagious diseases were removed—a far better plan than risking the health of the community by permitting the indiscriminate use of the public vehicles.
§ The EARL of DERBY
had no doubt that the object of the clause was well intended, but he questioned whether it would not be productive of greater evil than it proposed to remedy. The clause would render im- 136 possible the conveyance of any person attacked by dangerous disease, for every cabman would feel obliged to refuse to admit him into his carriage. If there had been such provision generally existing as the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) said existed in some parishes, of special conveyances for diseased persons, the clause would not be objectionable; but under the present circumstances it would be sometimes attended with cruelty, and would place drivers of public carriages in an invidious position by requiring them to ask of every passenger if they had any fever, or to stare in the faces of their fares, in order to ascertain whether they were afflicted with any cutaneous disorder. The object of the clause was, no doubt, good; but it was carrying legislation beyond just bounds, and he begged to suggest its withdrawal.
as one of Her Majesty's Judges, begged to observe, that if they passed the clause it would be difficult to find out what were infectious diseases. If the question were to come before the Judges, he suspected that six of them might be found on one side, and half-a-dozen on the other. Some people said there was no such thing as infectious diseases. How was it intended that the question should be decided? Was it to be decided by a jury, or how?
§ Clause withdrawn; Report received; further Amendments made; Bill to be read 3a on Thursday next.