HL Deb 24 July 1866 vol 184 cc1369-70

said, he wished to direct their Lordships' attention to a subject of some importance. He understood that there was in the House of Commons at the present time a Bill on the subject of vaccination, and if he were correctly informed that Bill had passed a Select Committee. Now he was very anxious to ascertain whether Her Majesty's Government intended to proceed with that measure during this Session. He was also desirous of saying a few words with respect to the present state of vaccination and small pox. In London alone, in 1863, there were 2,000 fatal cases of small pox, which at the very lowest computation would show 6,000 cases of attack; and in 1864 the number of fatal cases in England was 7,684, which would show at least some 24,000 cases of attack. He was informed that in the present year there were symptoms of a great increase of that epidemic, and that the small pox was likely to spread more fatally than in any preceding year. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary that the measure which had been introduced into the House of Commons for the purpose of stopping this fatal malady should as soon as possible be passed into law; and this was the more necessary because the disease was one which by sanitary regulations had become almost extinct in Austria and other countries of Europe. There could be no doubt that if measures were adopted in this country such as had been adopted on the Continent they would be attended with similar results. He begged to ask the noble Duke the President of the Council, What steps will be taken this Session in respect of any Bill regulating vaccination?


assured the noble Earl that the Government were quite sensible of the importance of the subject; but, as the noble Earl was evidently not aware the Bill had been withdrawn in the House of Commons on the previous night because, from the numerous objections raised to it, there was no hope of passing it during the present Session. It was generally admitted that some of the clauses adopted by the Select Committee would have been a very valuable addition to existing legislation; but there were other points on which there was much difference of opinion, and his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary did not think the object in view would be forwarded by further pressing the question during the present Session. It would, however, receive the attention of the Government during the recess; and they hoped to be able next Session to introduce a satisfactory measure.