HC Deb 11 February 1848 vol 96 cc536-41

moved for leave to bring in a Bill to make further provision for the carriage of passengers by sea to North America. The House was aware of the dreadful abuses which prevailed last year in consequence of the crowded state of the vessels which conveyed the emigrants from Ireland to our North American colonies. There was a prospect of a large emigration taking place this year also from Ireland, and the Government wished the House to legislate against the recurrence of the evils complained of during the past year. Out of 106,000 emigrants, who during the last twelve months crossed the Atlantic for Canada and New Brunswick, 6,100 perished on the voyage, 4,100 on their arrival, 5,200 in the hospitals, and 1,900 in the towns to which they repaired. The total mortality was no less than 17 per cent upon the aggregate number emigrating, the number of emigrants being 106,000, and the number of deaths 17,300. The Bill proposed to establish a certain proportion between the tonnage and the number of passengers carried, so as to ensure sufficient space for their accommodation. It also provided that a sufficient quantity of diet should be secured on board the emigrant vessels. What had happened was this—that a number of people in a state of destitution were thrown into vessels, and were not sufficiently provided for during the voyage. It was desirable that the Bill should be passed as speedily as possible, in order that its provisions might take effect before the season for emigration commenced, which was usually in the month of March.

Leave given.

Bill brought in and read a first time.

House adjourned at a quarter past One o'clock.