HC Deb 07 August 1833 vol 20 cc427-8

Mr. Poulett Thomson moved the third reading of the Registry of Vessels Bill.

Bill read a third time.

On the Motion that it do pass,

Mr. Ruthven

objected to the renewal of a Bill in its present form, from which so many injurious effects had arisen. The consequence of the former measure, which it was sought to renew, was, that vessels were constructed in such a way as to be enabled to carry more cargo than their ad- measured tonnage, and therefore, inferior vessels were built. The effect of this Act was, that British ships were so constructed, that they could no more compete with American-built ships than could a carthorse with a race-horse, and yet this was not to be attributed to any want of skill in the shipbuilders of this country. He was of opinion, that a Committee ought to have been appointed before the Bill had been proceeded with, particularly as the Commissioners who had been appointed to inquire into the subject had as yet delayed making any Report on which the House could legislate. In the mean time he was of opinion, that the measurement of vessels should be taken in such a way as accurately to give the cubic amount of tonnage. The hon. Member moved the insertion of a clause to that effect.

On the Question that the clause be read a second time,

Mr. George Young

said, that it was from no indifference to the subject that he had not anticipated the hon. Member in this Motion. As a shipowner, he practically knew the evils of the present system, but he had understood from those who were better acquainted than he was with the business of that House, that it would be highly inconvenient to propose the introduction of a clause like the present in a Consolidation Bill. He had for that reason abstained from attempting it. He recommended the hon. Member near him, on the same ground to withdraw the Motion at this moment, and he might advantageously bring it forward next Session, and should then have his (Mr. Young's) cordial support.

Mr. Poulett Thomson

had stated in strong terms his opinion on the present system of admeasurement of vessels, and his conviction, that that system required alteration. Commissioners bad been appointed to inquire into the subject, and their Report was not yet made, but it would be before the next Session, and then they should be able most conveniently to revise the law on this matter. He must moreover observe, that the House had already agreed to this Bill, on the express understanding, that it was to be confined to consolidate the laws, and not to alter them. He therefore could not consent to the Motion.

Clause negatived, and Bill passed.

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