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The Bill clearly had Government support. The Bill was a revision of the Madhouses Act in the light of a few years experience. It consolidated the Act with the Amendment Act and made detailed alterations intended to tighten and make the provisions more effective, but no major or dramatic changes. The House of Lords was to alter this. The Madhouses Bill was brought in whilst debates on the Parliamentary Reform Bill were so engrossing the House of Commons that Wynn suggested they should set one day a week aside for other measures.

What other bills did pass that session did so by the adoption of unusual procedures which allowed them to be dealt with without detracting from the main debate. Normally bills went through their committee stage before the "whole house". With them were the six commissioners I have already already suggested See 3. In this committee of specialists I assume the parliamentary work was done. If there was any discussion in the House, Hansard did not record it.

The Bill appears to have reached the House of Lords in a form consistent with its original presentation. See Journal The quotation marks around Private Committee in the Journals suggested to me that this was not a recognized procedure, but how the committee was actually described.

It was to be one whose proceedings could not be listened to by outsiders, and that, of course, included those who would most wish to: The reason can be inferred from the care with which they specified Lord Chancellor as "custodian of Chancery lunatics" see definitions and from the other amendments, which: Required the appointment of two barristers to the Commission Required an oath of secrecy from the Commissioners Extended the period during which a private return need not be made fron three to twelve months Abolished and destroyed the Register of Single Lunatics The effect of these changes with respect to Single Lunatics can be seen in the comparison of the and Acts that I have made in 3S.

The Lords abolished the Private Register of single lunatics ordering destruction of any existing Register and allowed single lunatics to be confined for a year without notice. The Chancery Lunatics , who were the custody of the Lord Chancellor, were invariably rich and Single Houses were expensive. Their revisions were not aimed at the general improvement of the legislation, but a meticulous vandalism seeking to stop the general legislation imposing on the interests of their class.

Did they, I wonder, wear their robes for the occasion, or did they slip in furtively, hoping not to be recognised? Referring back in to previous attempts to legislate on single lunatics, Somerset spoke a little obliquely of the "feelings" of "relatives" presenting "a great difficulty". So great a difficulty in fact that he would not even attempt legislation on the "serious grievances" suffered by Single Lunatics. The very reason single lunatics were not sent to licensed houses was "because they would there be exposed to the constant visits of the commissioners and public authorities" Hansard In the light of the total package of Lords amendments, I suspect that the Lords thought commissioners dependent on the Lord Chancellor for an income would be more discrete than unpaid JPs and MPs and that qualified legal commissioners would ensure even greater discretion.

They neglected, however, to provide salaries for the barristers and this had to be remedied by a special amendment Act in The Commission could not release a criminal lunatic, but it could examine and make a report to the Home Secretary see law. It was the Home Secretary not the Lord Chancellor who was to sanction enforcement by the London Clerk of those provisions for the notification of single lunatics that remained, and the Home Office that was to pay see law. There is no reason to believe he had any sympathy with efforts to protect the rich from inspection.

He was intent on reform of the English legal system, particularly the courts, and particularly Chancery. Though legally a distinct organisation, at least one of the first Chancery Visitors Southey was a Metropolitan Commissioner.

But rather than curbing the power of the state to pry into the affairs of the wealthy and powerful, they meant that Metropolitan Commissioners, as Chancery Visitors, visited those single lunatics who were also Chancery lunatics. Subsequent ministers, such as Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst and Home Secretary Graham, saw the possibility of tidying up the whole situation by combining the Visitors and the Commissioners.

But this was not to be, and an amendment to the Lunacy Act undid the integration that had been achieved informally, by preventing professional Lunacy Commissioners from having other paid employment.


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