HC Deb 03 September 1831 vol 6 cc1063-4
Mr. Denison

presented a Petition from Lightermen, owning craft to the amount of 20,000 tons, praying that the Bill now in the House, for the regulation of Steam-boats in the river Thames, might pass into a law.

Mr. Ewart

wished to ask, whether it was the intention of the Government to introduce any measure respecting the regulation of other Steam-boats, so as to prevent the recurrence of such a melancholy catastrophe as had lately happened in the case of the Rothsay Castle?

Mr. Lamb

said, that with respect to the intentions of the Government as to introducing any measure for the general regulation of Steam-boats, he was not at present prepared to give any definite answer. He certainly thought, as an individual, that it was desirable some regulations should be introduced, such as the late unhappy event had shewn to be necessary. The fact, however, was, that there was an Act upon the subject, passed in the 4th year of the late King, but he did not know enough of it to say whether its provisions were sufficient for the object now required. He should certainly direct his earnest attention to the subject; and though he could not pledge himself that any measure would be introduced, he had again no hesitation in saying, that he thought some regulations would be beneficial.

Mr. Croker

said, that the accident did not arise from the fact that the vessel was propelled by steam; he did, therefore, hope no additional regulations would be imposed on steam-vessels, unless sailing vessels were subject to the same regulations, for, unfortunately, similarly calamitous catastrophes had occurred, and not long since, with sailing-vessels.

Mr. Lamb

was of opinion, that as the Rothsay Castle was built for river navigation, she was not so well calculated for the sea. However, as legal measures, he understood, were about to be taken by some of the relatives against the proprietors, he should refrain from saying more.

Mr. John Campbell

protested against legislating in haste, under the influence of the late accident. Much of the incongruity, and the enormous bulk of our legislative enactments, were owing to their being brought forward without method, and on the spur of the moment.

Mr. Hughes Hughes

thought, that some previous inquiry ought always to be made into the sea-worthiness of steam-boats, by officers properly appointed, and resident at the various sea-ports.

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