presented 1717 a petition from the coach proprietors, innkeepers, and others, in the high road from London to Dover, complaining of the injury which they sustained by the steam vessels going direct from London to France. They prayed that a tax might be imposed on Steam Boats.
§ Mr. Hudson Gurney
said, that as the present discussion seemed to involve all grievances which did and did not arise from steam boats. He should address the right hon. gentleman opposite on one connected with his department; namely, the compelling all foreigners to exchange their papers, and take up their passports at Gravesend, to their great personal inconvenience, as they are obliged to go there the day before the vessel sails, and either wait its arrival or return to London, where, it should appear, the alien office would much more naturally have been the place for them to apply;—But, within a very few days, a foreigner of high rank had applied to, but was answered, he must go to Gravesend, and might then come back, and embark in London if he pleased. Mr. G. said, he did not mean to make of this a very serious evil, but it was a species of vexation of which the English would very loudly complain, if subjected to it in any foreign country.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, that he had that very morning given directions to remedy the inconvenience complained of. He was aware that steam boats from London to France had been running for some time, but he wished to wait until he saw whether they were likely to become permanently established. Finding that they were likely to continue, he had that morning given directions at the Custom House, that passports should be there delivered to foreigners, in order to prevent the necessity of their going to Gravesend.