HC Deb 07 August 1871 vol 208 cc1061-4

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 5 (Ship's draught of water to be recorded).

Amendment proposed, In page 2, line 29, after the word "record," to insert the words "provided that at the time of such record being made a copy thereof had been handed to the master or chief officer of such ship."—(Mr. Graves.)

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: — Ayes 52; Noes 54: Majority 2.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 (Survey of ships alleged by seamen to be unseaworthy).


said, he objected to a deserting seaman or apprentice being able to raise the issue whether a vessel was unseaworthy, and accordingly would move in page 3, line 37, to leave out "in justification," and insert "by a majority of the seamen and apprentices belonging to such ship," in order that the majority, at least, should have the power of deciding.


said, he thought the precautions against abuse sufficient, particularly as the deserter must make his complaint before leaving the ship, and would refer to the case of the Balaclava, mentioned earlier in the evening, some of whose seamen, sentenced to a month's imprisonment for desertion, had been liberated by the Government, as a justification for the insertion of the clause.


said, they had dealt with a stronger case that evening, that of the Megæra, which was improperly sent to sea, although in her case there was an absence of economical motive.


said, he would consider, before the Report was brought, how many men should to required to support the evidence of the deserter.


said, he was willing to accept a substantial proportion of the crew, such as one-third, or so. His design was, that the objection to the vessel should not be factious in its character.


said, he must continue to urge the adoption of the clause in the interests of the seamen.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) had unduly reflected upon the class of shipowners, and he begged to say that he represented more men before the mast in his constituency than the total number of electors in Droitwich.


said, he must disclaim any intention of attacking a class of traders; but he could not forget the case of the Sea Queen, and another vessel laden with iron, which foundered before they were out of sight of land.


said, he had an objection to the whole framework of the clause, which he feared would be a fruitful cause of desertion in the mer- chant service, and would suggest that it should be re-considered by the Government.


said, he would suggest that it should be the complaint of three or four sailors, at least, or of a fourth part of the crew, in certain cases.


said, he would accept the Amendment if the proportion were limited to one-fourth of the seamen belonging to the ship, or if the number of such seamen exceeded 20, then by not fewer than five of such seamen.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause amended accordingly, and agreed to.

Clauses 8 to 10 inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 11 (Sending unseaworthy ship to sea, a misdemeanour).


moved in page 6, line 16, to leave out "a ship," and insert "any ship, including ships belonging to Her Majesty." He thought it was a great mistake to call this a Merchant Shipping Bill; it was a Life Protection Bill; and within the last 12 months merely there having been four striking cases of mischief to Her Majesty's vessels—namely, the Psyche, the Captain, the Agincourt, and the Megæra. He thought the crews of Her Majesty's Navy were quite as much entitled to protection as the merchant navy.

Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 16, to leave out the words "a ship," and insert the words "any ship, including ships belonging to Her Majesty."—(Mr. Graves.)


said, there was a wide distinction between the mercantile and the naval services. In one case there was need of a safeguard; but in the case of the Navy, the vigilant attention of Parliament, which had been well illustrated that evening, was the true safeguard.


observed that the vigilance of Parliament had not prevented the Megæra from being sent to sea.

Question put, "That the words 'a ship' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: — Ayes 57; Noes 27: Majority 30.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow, at Two of the clock.

The Clerk at the Table informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was unable to resume the Chair during the present sitting of the House.

Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.