HC Deb 19 May 1882 vol 269 cc1087-8

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether his attention has been called to the large amount of overbooking which takes place, especially in the case of one of the principal Transatlantic lines, owing to which emigrants are brought to Queenstown in large numbers, and kept waiting many days for a steamer; whether it is a fact that the other lines touching at this port generally hand over surplus passengers to the next departing steamer, no matter what line it belongs to; whether he has considered how far the present amount of detention money is adequate, considering the expense and inconvenience emigrants are put to, in cost of keep, in the breaking up of parties composed of relatives, and the impossibility of keeping engagements made with friends who have promised to meet them on their arrival in America; and, whether he will remonstrate with this Company on the course they are pursuing?


Sir, my attention has been called to the unusually large number of emigrants this year. It is the practice of the various lines touching at Queenstown to hand over their surplus passengers to the next departing steamer, no matter to what line it belonged; and I am authorized to state that this practice is followed, as far as it can be, by the particular line referred to by the hon. Member. In many cases, however, emigrants insist upon travelling by the line by which they have been booked; and, pending the arrival of the next steamer of that line, the owners have to pay detention money. This payment is fixed by Statute at 1s. 6d. per adult per day for the first 10 days, and after that period at 3s. per day. From inquiry I have made I learn that the particular line in question allows 2s. instead of 1s. 6d. apiece per day to emigrants detained; and it is further stated that this detention has in no case lasted longer than from one week to the next.