HC Deb 01 August 1848 vol 100 cc1073-4

House in Committee on the Steam Navigation Act.


proposed a Resolution to enable him to bring in a Bill to make some alteration in the law as regarded steam navigation. The object which he had in view was simple. All steamboats going to sea were required to have their machinery inspected by surveyors, and penalties were imposed on boats going to sea without such inspection; but there were no penalties attached to steamboats navigating rivers, and it was almost as important that there should be an inspection of steamboats on rivers, as of steamboats going to sea. Some cases of great abuse having lately been brought under his notice, he thought it not right to leave the public exposed to such dangers. This was the principal object of the Bill; but there was another provision in the Bill, which he thought desirable. It was to give the Board of Trade a general power to fix the maximum of passengers to be carried by steamboats. Nothing could be more unadvisable than that the Board of Trade, or any other department, should exercise a vexatious interference with the number of persons carried by steamboats. It was not necessary to exercise this power as to sea-going vessels; but it was notorious that some of the steamboats which navigated the Thames, owing to the great competition which existed on the river, were occasionally crowded ill a manner dangerous to the public. He therefore proposed to give power to the Board of Trade to fix a maximum to the number of passengers which steamboats should be allowed to carry, as a maximum was fixed to the number passengers which stage-coaches and omnibuses were allowed to carry.

Resolution agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill brought in and road a first time.

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