Page:Remarks on the British Quarantine Laws.djvu/20

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Dr. Maclean on the


without salaries. To these should be added a secretary, and a physician, to assist in giving the proper directions, and to visit the Lazarettos in cases of emergency." (p. 440.) Who were the persons in view for secretary and physician is very obvious: and it is equally evident that, with the almost unlimited discretionary powers with which it was in contemplation that they should be invested, no responsibility could be imposed, which could prevent this board, but particularly the secretary, and still more the physician, from engrossing, in such a case, an unlimited authority and patronage, amounting even to a complete despotism over the whole of the exterior commerce of Great Britain. This was certainly a gigantic project; and had it succeeded, the boundaries of contagion would probably have been extended to the Chinese and the Indian seas. But owing to the reluctance of the Privy Council to part with any share of the authority and patronage, which they had been accustomed to exercise, it happily failed. The physician too, it may be observed, was only to visit the Lazarettos, in cases of emergency! In this, as well as in every thing else, in which England has aped the councils of foreign, and in general slavish nations, she has done wrong. We shall see presently that Dr. P. Russell was one of the principal authors of the quarantine regulations established in this country in 1800, and afterwards revised, and, with some trivial alterations, confirmed, in 1805.

In the year 1788, an act was passed (28 Geo. III. cap. 34) "more effectually to secure the performance of quarantine, and for amending several laws relating to the revenue of customs." (Russ, p. 581.)

By an act passed In the 38th of Geo. III. c. 99, some of the regulations of the 26 of Geo. II. c. 6, for the performance of quarantine, are amended. This act (38 Geo. III. c. 99.) was intitled, "An act to encourage the trade into the Levant seas, by providing a more convenient mode of performing quarantine, &c." Its particular object was to authorise ships and vessels, without clean bills of health, to proceed to England, and to do quarantine there, instead of being obliged, as formerly, to perform it in some of the Lazarettos of the Mediterranean. Under the authority of this act, a committee was appointed by the Lords of the Privy Council, to consider and prepare regulations of quarantine applicable to the change of circumstances. This committee consisted of eleven members, G. Baker, L. Pepys, F. Gisborne, A. S. Hamond, Pat. Russell, Jas. Johnston, Gil. Blane, J. Robertson Barclay, Tho. Boone, E. Lee, and J. Green; the first nine physicians, and the two last Levant merchants. They made a report on the 2d of April 1800, consisting of 58 pages, founded chiefly on the 26th