HC Deb 18 April 1823 vol 8 cc1125-6

On the order of the day for reading this bill a third time,

Mr. H. Gurney

said, he held in his hand a statement from the town of Yarmouth, in which they complained of those provisions of the bill which compelled coasting vessels of a certain description to take apprentices, not increasing thereby the number of seamen, but throwing them out of employ.

Mr. Ricardo

opposed the measure, as imposing injurious restrictions on a particular trade, and interfering with the private rights of the individuals connected with that trade. The right hon. gentleman opposite was bound to show, that there were some circumstances in this particular trade which ought to take it out of the general rule. He had, however, not only failed to do this, but he had failed to prove that the measure would afford any protection to private seamen. He should therefore move as an amendment, "That the bill be read a third time that day six months."

Sir I. Coffin

contended, that good seamen could only be obtained by educating them as apprentices. If men were not bound apprentices, they would be as ignorant of the profession at the end of seven years, as at the commencement of their service. The best sailors in the navy were those who had served in the coal trade. The protection given by the bill to second mates was a most beneficial provision.

Mr. Huskisson

said, the measure had given universal satisfaction to the shipowners, and he believed there was scarcely a man in the House, except the hon. member (Mr. Ricardo) who was not satisfied of its utility. The measure was unquestionably one of relief to merchants, and of essential benefit to the maritime interest.

Mr. Ricardo

withdrew his amendment; and the bill was read a third time.