Page:Remarks on the British Quarantine Laws.djvu/18

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Dr. Maclean on the


the Lords of the Treasury to purchase lands, &c., directing the £.5000 already granted to be applied to the payment of the same, and the deficiency to be made good by duties levied on merchandise. By this act, a power was given to erect and establish permanent Lazarettos for the reception of persons and goods; but its provisions were not carried into effect. The agitation of the question at this^ period appears to have been occasioned by the raging of a pestilence, in 1770, in Wallachia, and some parts of Poland: for, we finds that on the 5th of October of that year, an order was issued for the performance of a quarantine of forty days, by all vessels, persons and goods, coming from Dantzic, or other parts of royal and ducal Prussia, or Pomerania. (Russell's Treat, p. 454.) Upon this occasion, the power of appointing proper places for quarantine in the outports was left to the discretion of the officers of the customs: and it was probably the inconveniences arising from the exercise of this authority that occasioned the subject to be brought into parliament.

In December 1780, the plague raging in the Ukraine and Volhinia, regular stations, seven in England, four in Scotland, and two in Jersey and Guernsey, were appointed for the performance of quarantine. (Russell's Treat, p. 454.)

In July 1783, information having been received of a pestilence having appeared on the borders of Poland, a quarantine of 40 days was again imposed on the ships of Dantzic, Prussia, and Pomerania. Neither at this period, nor in 1770, nor 1780, was grain exempted, although, in the two latter years, there was an express exemption in favor of wine and oil, which, like grain, are reckoned among the articles not susceptible of infection, (Russell's Treat, p. 457.) But, in consequence of a threatened famine in Edinburgh, and a memorial from that city, the restraint of quarantine was, on this occasion, directed to be taken off all vessels laden solely with grain.

At all these periods, it was a general rule of Council to impose a full quarantine of forty days, or to take it off entirely. (Russell's Treat, p. 463.) In 1770, upon the petition of certain merchants of London, trading to Hamburgh and Bremen, the restraint of quarantine was directed to be taken of ships from these places, in November.

Adverting to the fluctuating and contradictory orders of the Privy Council, in respect to quarantine, Dr. P . Russell (p. 453—467) takes occasion repeatedly to recommend the adoption of a board of health, according to the custom of foreign nations. "The quarantine act," says he, marking the great lines only, leaves the details and execution to His Majesty in Council; which, different from the practice in most other countries, constitutes the only