§ On the motion of Mr. Labouchere, the House went into a committee on the Pilotage Act. In committee the right hon. Gentleman stated, that by the ancient privileges of the Cinque Ports, confirmed by several Acts of Parliament, and lastly by the Pilotage Act, vessels entering the Thames, having on board an owner or pilot who was 1308 an inhabitant of the Cinque Ports, was exempted from river dues. This privilege had lately been brought into question under circumstances of legal difficulty arising out of claims on the part of a French steam company under the Reciprocity Act, which it was most desirable should be fulfilled in spirit as well as to the letter. It appeared that a British steam company engaged in the carriage of passengers to Havre had engaged an individual or householder of one of the Cinque Ports to take part as owner in their vessels, and by his presence to free them from the payment of the dues on the River Thames. The rival French company had, in retaliation, adopted a similar expedient; but it appeared that our laws stood in the way of Englishmen possessing French property of this description. As it was most desirable to place both parties on an equal footing, he had consulted his Grace the Duke of Wellington, and had obtained his sanction to bringing in a bill which abolished the objectionable privilege, and so get rid of the difficulty of fairly fulfilling the spirit of the Act of Reciprocity. The right hon. Gentleman moved a resolution that leave be asked to bring in a bill, to repeal so much of an act passed in the sixth year of the reign of King George the Fourth, intituled "An Act for the amendment of the law respecting pilots and pilotage, and also for the better preservation of floating lights, buoys, and beacons," as exempts from penalty the master or mate of any ship or vessel, being the owner or part owner of such ship or vessel, and residing at Dover, Deal, or the Isle of Thanet, for piloting or conducting such his own ship or vessel, in certain cases in the said act mentioned.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ House resumed, and bill ordered to be brought in.