§ MR. HENLEY
said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the "Abstract of the Returns of Wrecks and Casualties," lately presented to Parliament, and to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Board of Trade if he had any objection to have a Return prepared, showing "the number of vessels entered inwards in the years 1852, 1853, 1854, 1855, and 1856, distinguishing the foreign and coasting trades, and foreign and British ships 1954 employed in each respectively, showing the total number of British and foreign vessels, and the total number of wrecks and casualties in each year, and the percentage of British and foreign vessels wrecked, or to which casualties have happened in each year." What was wanted was, a Return showing the increase and decrease in the number of voyages made; and he wished to know whether there was any objection to make the Returns according to his notice?
§ MR. LOWE
said, he fully agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the Returns which he was anxious to obtain would be exceedingly valuable, but he (Mr. Lowe) found that the Government were not in possession of the materials for such Returns. Instructions had, however, been given which would provide for the supply of the information in future Returns, although it could not be afforded retrospectively.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he thought the Board of Trade Returns would supply much of the information required.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he must express his gratification that the Returns to which the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) referred had been laid upon the table. It appeared that, in consequence of the measures adopted by Parliament, there had been a considerable decrease in the number of lives lost at sea during the last two or three years. He hoped, therefore, that the mercantile body would be reconciled to the liberality which Parliament had enabled the Board of Trade to exercise, and that the knowledge that such a power was possessed and exercised by the Board of Trade would lead persons resident on the sea coast to correspond with that Board, with the view of establishing lifeboats, and taking other means to diminish that loss of life at sea which was one of the greatest scandals of this country until the recent arrangements were made.