HC Deb 26 February 1880 vol 250 cc1446-8

rose to move the adjournment of the House, a course which, he said, he would not have taken if the Question he had handed in on the previous night had found its way into the Order Paper. He had, however, been told that it was informal, and he, consequently, had no resource but to appeal to the House. On Tuesday evening last the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade, in dealing with some 16 ships which he (Mr. Plimsoll) had spoken of as having been grain-laden and subsequently lost, very summarily disposed of the first four named by observing that two of them were not grain-laden but had mixed cargoes, and that the two others had general cargoes. That statement of the noble Lord had astonished him, as he had taken pains to procure accurate information on the subject. But, after what fell from the noble Lord, he had made further inquiries, and he had obtained copious extracts from the manifests of the ships lodged at the ports of shipping. He found that in the case of theSurbitonthere were 295 tierces of canned goods, and 22 tons of bacon; but there were also 50,000 bushels of wheat, equal to 1,250 tons. On board theZanzibarthere were 2,793 barrels and 6,753 sacks of flour, as well as 1,260 bags of oatmeal, making in all 1,093 tons, while there were 47,000 bushels of wheat, weighing 1,175 tons. TheHomercarried 1,509 barrels of apples, 35,990 lb. of bacon, 5,000 lb. of butter, 1,238 lb. of cheese, and 286,500 lb. of lard, making in all 299 tons; while she had onboard 43,642 bushels of wheat, weighing 1,091 tons. TheBerninacarried stearine, bacon, cheese, hams, lard, cottonseed-cake, barrel flour, flour in sacks, pork, and canned goods to the amount of 342 tons; but she had on board 4,000 bushels of Indian corn and 62,650 bushels of wheat, making 1,666 tons. That being so, he would ask the House whether he was not justified in speaking of those ships as corn-laden vessels, and what it thought of the candour of the reply which had been put into the mouth of the President of the Board of Trade, in which he objected to these vessels as having been improperly described? He wanted to take that opportunity to state that in 1875, 1876, and previously, the officials of the Board of Trade had supplied information through the Presidents which was totally inaccurate. ["Order!"]


The hon. Member is now referring to a discussion which took place the other evening on the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon), and to a Bill which the hon. Member introduced in the earlier part of the Session. The hon. Member must be aware that to refer to debates that have taken place during the current Session is irregular. It appears to me that the course the hon. Member is now taking is quite irregular, and is not covered by moving the adjournment of the House.


I at once defer to your decision, Sir.


I wish to ask a Question of the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Westminster, of which I have not given him private Notice, but which is of a nature than can be answered without. I observe in this morning's papers a paragraph authorized by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll), in which he says he has good ground for believing that the blocking Notice to the Merchant Shipping (Grain Cargoes) Bill, about which there has been so much discussion, was put upon the Paper without the knowledge of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster and the hon. Member for Guildford. I think it is only right I should ask the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster whether there is any foundation for that belief?


I have in my pocket a letter on the subject which I intended to send toThe Times; but as a Question has been put to me with respect to it, I beg to say that there is no foundation whatsoever for the statement to which the hon. Baronet refers.