§ Mr. G. Palmer
was happy to be able to state, that the motion which he intended to make, relative to the shipwreck of timber ships trading between this country and America, had the full approbation of the right hon. Gentleman opposite the President of the Board of Trade. The subject was one of very great importance, and the object of his motion was, to ascertain whether it were possible to reduce the yearly number of shipwrecks, by the adoption of some system of regulation, and to mitigate in some degree, the sufferings to which the crews were exposed. It was not his intention to go into the question at any length, but he might be allowed to state to the House, that in the year 1834 there were four timber ships wrecked on the rocks or coasts of this country or America, and seventeen more in the open sea. In 1835 there were fifteen timber ships wrecked on the rocks or coasts; thirty-four more in the open sea, and out of that number there were no less than sixteen vessels of which there was no account of the crews having been saved. In 1836 the number wrecked on the coasts was twenty-four, in the open sea forty-four, and of these there were sixteen of which there was no account of the crew. In 1837 the number wrecked on the coasts was seven; in the open sea, twenty-three; and of fifteen of those there was no account of the crew. In 1838 the wrecks on the coast amounted to sixteen; in the open sea forty-five; and out of that number there were twenty-six, of which there was no account of the crews. The loss of property, therefore, was very great; but the sufferings endured by the crews of those vessels lost in the open sea were of the most heart-rending description. It was well known that timber vessels did not sink immediately, like other ships, when overturned, and the crews frequently 1303 got upon the hulls, where they remained without food and water until they were picked up by some other vessel; but, in many cases, they perished from want, after having undergone the most frightful sufferings. The object he had in view, therefore, was to ascertain whether something might not be done to prevent such an extent of suffering, and to guard against so great a loss of property in future. He would not trouble the House with any further details, and he should therefore move, that "a select committee be appointed to inquire into shipwrecks of timber ships, and the loss of life attendant thereon."
§ Mr. Alderman Thompson
had no objection to the motion of his hon. Friend, although he thought there might be some difference of opinion as to the cause of the great annual loss of ships employed in the timber trade with America. He hoped the attention of the committee would be directed to the subject of deck-loading, which he thought deserved consideration.
§ Mr. Warburton
was of opinion, that the inquiry should be general, and not limited to timber ships. In his opinion, much of the loss was caused by forcing a trade with our colonies in which old ships and ships unfit for service were employed.
§ Mr. Darby
considered the loss was occasioned by the bad description of ships employed in the timber trade with America. Old ships set off from the American coast heavily loaded with timber, and it could not be denied that there was great loss of life and property in consequence. He should therefore support the motion.
§ Motion agreed to.