HC Deb 24 August 1857 vol 147 c2069

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Secretary Labouchere whether he has received any information with regard to an emigrant vessel called the Ann Wilson, which sailed from the Port of Liverpool on the 29th day of November last, particularly as regards the alleged over-crowded state of that vessel—the short supply of water, provisions and medical comforts on board—and the fatal effects that ensued; and whether any inquiry has been or will be made into the facts? It appeared that the master of the vessel had been sued directly the ship got to New Zealand, and had absconded, and the question now was, whether, under the law as it now stood, the owners or charterers of the vessel could be held responsible.


said, that as yet no official information had reached him from the colony of the circumstances of this case. At the same time, the accounts which had appeared in the newspapers having attracted the attention of the Government, the Emigration Commissioners directed their officers at Liverpool to supply such information upon the subject as was obtainable. Accordingly it turned out that, whereas the ship was measured for 186 adults, it only took out 169. He thought, therefore, that some misapprehension must exist as to the facts of the case, at least as regarded the over-crowding of the vessel. It was also stated that there was a full supply of water on board, as well as an abundance of provisions, and that both had undergone the closest inspection. With regard to what took place in the colony, no doubt, if the facts stated by his hon, and learned Friend should prove true, they would be such as to deserve the closest investigation on the part of the Government. But all he could say at present was, that as soon as the ship reached this country the matter would be fully investigated, and if the owners were to blame, the full penalty would be exacted.