§ MR. STEVENSON
wished to take the opportunity of saying a few words before the Report was agreed to. There was a large item charged for the expenses of the Wreck Commission and stipendiary magistrates. The inquiries which took place before the stipendiaries were formerly held by the local magistrates. When these magistrates held the inquiries they had lasted but a day to a day and a-half, whereas, now, the hearing of such matters very frequently 1153 extended over several days; because, in the nature of the case, the stipendiary could give only the fragments of his time which remained after the ordinary work of the police court was finished. This caused very great expense, more especially to the captains whose cases were under consideration. So far as he was aware the magistrates had not been guilty of any neglect of duty in the holding of these inquiries. It was, no doubt, right that these disasters should be inquired into by a competent Court and by competent officials; and he was not complaining of any matter, except that the jurisdiction having been taken from the local magistrates a very unnecessary expense had been cast upon the captains having to attend these investigations.
§ MR. GOURLEY
referred to the large expenses caused on the inquiries held by the stipendiary magistrates at South Shields, compared with that expended when they were conducted by local magistrates. Masters and officers belonging to Sunderland, Seaham, and Hartlepool were compelled to go to South Shields, and wait the convenience of the stipendiary magistrates. This involved a serious loss of time, as well as of expense, without any corresponding benefit; hence he considered that the time had come for a revision of the present system of inquiry. He held that until a Wreck Commissioner was appointed for the North, the inquiries there ought to be held before the local magistrates.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
said, that he quite understood the grievance which had been referred to. It would receive due attention and consideration at the hands of the Government.
§ MR. BIGGAR
wished for some explanation as to the salary of a solicitor at £1,000 a-year, and £600 for counsels' fees, besides the salaries for three clerks. He could not understand how there could be any employment for a counsel at all.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
explained that the officials alluded to were winding up a certain number of cases which had been left outstanding. When the work on which they were employed had ceased then their offices would be abolished, and, as recommended by the Commission, the gentlemen 1154 would be absorbed into other offices and omitted from the list.
§ MR. BIGGAR
wished to point out to the hon. Baronet that he had not explained why counsels' fees were necessary, nor why so unreasonable a sum as £1,000 a-year was paid to a solicitor.
§ Resolutions agreed to.