HC Deb 19 July 1854 vol 135 cc437-8

said, he would now beg to move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the process in the High Court of Admiralty. The measure had received the sanction of the Judge of the Court; the matter was urgent, and on the second reading, he would state the provisions of the Bill.


said, he objected to the introduction of the Bill. The Lords of the Admiralty were carrying matters with too high a hand, and he would not agree to give them any more power. A seizure had been made of some vessels in Scotland, which he was advised was clearly illegal. He saw that one of Her Majesty's ships had been sent to the Clyde to seize the property of one of his constituents, because he refused to surrender it without a guarantee against future claims. Under these circumstances, he could not consent to give any further power to the right hon. Baronet and his Colleagues till the matter was arranged.


said, he did not think the hon. Gentleman was aware of the nature of the Bill he (Sir J. Graham) wished to bring in. It did not seek to enlarge the powers of the High Court of Admiralty. The Act which the hon. Gentleman complained of was an Act exercised by the Government on their own discretion, and not under the authority of the High Court of Admiralty. But this Bill had nothing to do with that subject. It was a Bill to enlarge the power of the High Court of Admiralty merely to the extent of enabling it to appoint Commissioners in the country to take affidavits, similar to the power possessed by the Court of Chancery. That provision was required by reason of a doubt having been expressed in a court of law as to the efficacy of an affidavit taken by a Commissioner of the Court of Chancery in a matter cognisable by the High Court of Admiralty. That was the first provision of the Bill. The second was to legalise affidavits taken before our consuls and other authorities in foreign countries; the third provision was, to allow suits to be instituted without the arrest of the ships —this was a provision intended for the benefit of commerce; and the fourth and last provision of the Bill was to substitute stamps for fees.

Leave given; Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir James Graham, Admiral Berkeley, and Mr. Osborne.

Bill read 1°.

The House adjourned at five minutes before Six o'clock.