HC Deb 26 June 1876 vol 230 cc422-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been drawn to the case of Henry Jacobs and John Scott, two seamen, who were reported to have jumped overboard in the Thames from the ship "Cullmon" rather than go to sea when they found to whom the ship belonged, and are now undergoing six months' imprisonment for so doing; and, whether he will direct that the shipping master before whom the men sign articles should make the men acquainted with the names of the owners before they sign articles?


Sir, my attention has been called to the case of Henry Jacobs and John Scott, who jumped into the river at Gravesend to get into a boat to desert from the Callirrhoe, not Cullmon, as the ship is named in the Question. They were pursued and taken before the Mayor and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment—not six months as stated by the hon. Gentleman. They could not have truly pleaded that they had not known the owner of the ship, as, before they signed the articles at Tower Hill, they were, as is always done, fully informed of the owner's and master's name. For the same reason I cannot direct shipping masters to give such information generally, as they are bound to give it always, and in fact always do give it. This case, among many others, involving great loss to the ship and the fraud besides of making off with advance notes, shows the necessity of stringent punishment for desertion. The Mayor of Gravesend, who tried the case, expressed his opinion that these men had joined with the purpose of desertion, to get their advance notes, and repeat the trick.