The code of Quarantine laws in England, and of Sanitary laws in the nations of the continent of Europe, is, perhaps, without exception, the most gigantic, extraordinary, and mischievous superstructure, that has ever been raised by man, upon a purely imaginary foundation. All these codes being in principle similar, I shall here limit my observations to the English regulations of quarantine, and to the Spanish sanitary laws, as affording examples of the whole.
The regulations of the English code, as it at present exists, will be found comprehended in a collection of articles, published by the King's printers, under the title of "An Act, passed the 12th of March 1805. (45 Geo. III. cap. x.) for making farther provision for the effectual performance of quarantine; and also an order in Council, dated 5th April 1805.: with reports from the Board of Health." The Act consists of 44 clauses; the order in Council of 50 articles; and these, together with the two reports of the Board of Health, occupy 143 large 8vo pages. They seem to have been principally founded upon the sanitary regulations of the continental nations of Europe, and upon Russell's "Treatise of the Plague," published in 1791, comprehending, with Appendix, about 750 large 4to pages, which, in the preface, he modestly characterises as only "improvable hints."
The project of a code of sanitary laws, presented last year by their committee of public health, to the Spanish Cortes, (now finally rejected, principally in consequence, as I have reason to know, of my representations to that body,) consists of 400 articles, condensed into 64 close octavo pages, of which an examination will be found in my "Sketch of Proceedings in Spain, in illustration of the invalidity of the doctrine of Pestilential Contagion, and of the pernicious effects of quarantine or sanitary laws, &c."
The professed object of the laws in question, very different, as I shall show, from their real object, is to prevent the exportation, importation, and spreading, of epidemic diseases, by the action of