Page:Remarks on the British Quarantine Laws.djvu/26

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Dr. Maclean on the


the matters agitated in them does not appear from the journals of the Commons: but from the journals of the Lords, we learn that the Earl of Bridgewater, on the 30th of October, reported to the house, that the committee had considered the bill for making further provision for such as be infected with the plague." Their Lordships added two provisos, and proposed some alterations and amendments, which were offered to the judgment of the house. These provisos consisted in inhibiting pest houses and burying grounds to be stationed near the houses of peers, and exempting peers' houses from being shut up at the discretion of constables. (Russell's Treat, p. 583.) The Commons adhering to their former votes, the affair ended. In coincidence with the provisos here proposed by the Lords, Dr. Mead, at a subsequent period, recommended that the rich, who might happen to be infected, should be transported to their country houses, instead of being sent to Lazarettos; as if contagion, did it exist, would not as readily spread from the rich as from the poor! (Mead's Discourse, p. 99.) In conformity with the same principle, some modern functionaries have considered it quite harmless that they themselves should land, immediately upon arriving in port, from ships, of which the crews have been held bound to perform quarantine, as if they had the privilege of being non-conductors of that contagion, which they imagine others cannot avoid propagating. The doctrine of the original contagionists at Trent was very different. They alleged contagion had a stronger attraction for people of condition than for other persons. But all these modifications had their particular purposes to serve. See also the First Report of the Board of Health of 1805, p. 131.

The act of Queen Anne "to oblige ships coming from places infected more effectually to perform their quarantine," related to the prevention of the importation of contagion from certain places only, and did not include the commerce of the Levant, or comprehend any internal regulations for preventing the spreading of disease. But in January 1721, under the influence of the panic occasioned by the plague of Marseilles, which had just terminated, an act was passed, (7 Geo. I.) intitled: "An act for repealing an act (Queen Anne's) for the better preventing the plague being brought from foreign parts into Great Britain, or Ireland, or the Isles of Guernsey, &c. &c,, and to hinder the spreading of infection." This act gave power to remove persons from their habitations, and to make lines about places supposed to be infected. A petition against these clauses was presented by the city of London; and, upon the bill, which was introduced for their repeal, being in the first instance rejected, a spirited protest was entered on the journals of the Lords, by Earl Cowper, and Lords