HC Deb 12 February 1852 vol 119 cc475-6

moved for leave to bring in a Bill to amend and consolidate the Laws relating to the Carriage of Passengers by Sea. As the Bill involved no new principle of legislation, he did not feel called upon to make any remarks, except that its object was to render more effective the laws now in existence. A Committee had been appointed on this subject last Session, presided over by the right hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert), and the report of that Committee contained a variety of suggestions of great value, most of which he had embodied in the Bill he now sought to introduce. He anticipated it would, if agreed to by the House, be a measure which would have the effect of providing more efficiently for the comfort and the security of the hundreds of thousands of our fellow-subjects who now left the shores of the United Kingdom every year for Australia or the United States.


submitted that there ought to be laid upon the table of the House a return of all the ships carrying emigrants which had been lost during the past year, inasmuch as there existed out of doors a strong opinion that there was a great want of attention on the part of the authorities with respect to that examination into the seaworthiness of emigrant ships which the House had desired should be made. It was a matter of the greatest importance, as he could assure the House that he knew of cases in which persons desirous of emigrating had been deterred from doing so by the serious and repeated losses of emigrants, from the ignorance of the officers, or the badness of the ships.


wished to know whether this Bill applied only to steerage passengers, or to cabin and intermediate passengers also? Ships, not called emigrant ships, but which, nevertheless, took out emigrants, were often scandalously deficient in their supplies of food and water, as well as defective in construction and arrangement; and their sanitary regulations were, in fact, no regulations at all. He made a voyage to the Cape himself in one of these vessels, and he could assure the House that not a day passed in which the passengers were not in fear of plague, pestilence, and famine; and on looking into the law, on their arrival at port, he found they had no remedy whatever.


said, that the provisions of the Bill did not include what were called cabin passengers, but they did include intermediate, as well as steerage passengers.


on behalf of his emigrating countrymen, expressed his gratitude to the hon. Member (Mr. Peel) for this measure, which he believed was very much required.

Leave given:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Peel and Mr. Labouchere.

Bill read 1a.

The House adjourned at half after Nine o'clock.

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