HC Deb 10 February 1857 vol 144 cc455-6

said, he would now beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Board of Trade whether any steps were being taken by the Government towards the diminution of the risks to shipping by the erection of a lighthouse on the reefs known as the Pratas Shoals, in the China Sea?


said, some steps had been taken, but he was sorry to have to state that no decided result had as yet been the consequence, owing to the difficulties which stood in the way. The first of those difficulties related to the question of how funds were to be procured. The erection of the proposed lighthouse would be very expensive, and the only money at the disposal of the Board of Trade for the purpose were the tolls upon English vessels passing by the lighthouse. They were at present in correspondence with the Government of Hong-Kong upon the subject of whether English vessels would be found willing to pay those tolls or not. The second difficulty in the matter was, that, even though such willingness should be expressed, there would be a differential duty against English shipping, inasmuch as it was not within the power of the Board of Trade to impose tolls upon foreign vessels.