HC Deb 08 March 1850 vol 109 cc533-4

begged to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade respecting the seizure and removal of a vessel, which had been in the port of Liverpool, called the Elizabeth Hastings. He wished to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether or not he had before him any official information on the subject? Further, he wished to know whether the Government intended to introduce any measure for preventing a repetition of such extraordinary proceedings? Also, whether foreign vessels were permitted to come into the ports of this country to be registered without paying the 10 per cent duty chargeable upon all unenumerated articles in the present tariff?


replied, that there was no doubt of the fact that the outrage to which the noble Lord referred had been committed—that the vessel mentioned had been carried out of the port of Liverpool against the will of her owners, and clearly in defiance of the law; the Board of Trade, therefore, lost no time in communicating with the Foreign Office on the subject, and instructions were immediately sent to our Consuls at Tampico, and other places, to which it was thought likely that the vessel might be conveyed, requiring Her Majesty's Consuls at those places to render all the assistance in their power, in order to obtain redress. As to the question put by the noble Lord respecting the introduction of any measures on the subject, he had only to say that there had been an erroneous impression that recent Bills had altered the previous state of the law upon such points as the late occurrence at Liverpool gave rise to. If it appeared that the aw was altered, that it was defective, that it was not sufficiently stringent to meet such cases, it might, perhaps, be necessary to submit some proposition to the House. With regard to vesssels coming to this country to be registered, they could not be considered in the light of imported goods. If they were brought here for the purpose of being broken up, they were liable to a duty of 25 per cent; and sufficient precautions were taken to prevent vessels being brought to this country under pretence of registration, if the real purpose were that of breaking them up.

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