HC Deb 26 April 1849 vol 104 cc856-7

wished to ask the right hon. the President of the Board of Trad a question, of which he had given notice, whether it is the intention of the Government to bring in any measure so to regulate the carriage of passengers in merchant vessels, between various ports of the united kingdom, as may prevent the recurrence of such calamities as occurred on board the Londonderry steamer? He wished also to ask, whether the attention of the right hon. Gentleman had been drawn to the report of an inquest that had been held in the course of the last few days at Liverpool, in consequence of several deaths that had taken place on board the Britannia steamer, on her passage from Dublin to that port? It appeared she carried 414 deck passengers, in a gale of wind, many of whom had to remain upon the paddle-boxes, and, in consequence of the exposure and the severity of the weather, a man, woman, and child died. He wished to know if the Government intended to adopt any measures to prevent the recurrence of such casualties?


was glad to say, that the attention of the Government had been directed to the lamentable consequences arising from the overcrowding of steamers, and the exposure of deck passengers, from overcrowding, on board steamers between England and Ireland. They had considered the question, not only with regard to the Londonderry, but various other cases. The subject was one which was not unattended with difficulty; and it would be most unadvisable to throw any obstruction in the way of the cheap means of conveyance at present enjoyed by the humbler classes in Ireland, who came over to the harvest, or for other purposes. On the other hand, the overcrowding had been attended with such serious results, that it would be necessary to interpose. The hon. and learned Gentleman must be aware that, by an Act passed in the last Session, there was a power vested in the Board of Trade to limit the number of passengers; but the application of that Act had hitherto been limited to steamers navigating rivers, and had not been applied to sea-going steamers. Under the present circumstances, he had thought it right to direct Captain Denham to go down to Liverpool, and to report the result of his inquiries; and he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that no time would be lost by the Government in taking such measures as, under all the circumstances, might be considered expedient.


expressed his gratification that the duty had devolved upon Captain Denham, and hoped the Government would not lose sight of the subject.

Subject dropped.

Back to