HC Deb 12 March 1883 vol 277 cc198-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been drawn to the ship "Oxford," which sailed from Plymouth on the 25th January 1883 for New Zealand with 400 emigrants, but, having been dismasted in the Bay of Biscay, was towed into Cardiff about the 16th February to refit; whether it is true the emigrants have been sent to the depot at Devonport to await the refitting of the said ship "Oxford," and are there so crowded that three or four are compelled to sleep in one bed; whether the report that several cases of typhus fever have occurred among the emigrants is true; and, whether an allowance of 1 s. 6d. per day is made to such emigrants as can lodge with their friends at Plymouth; and, if so, have such allowances been paid without deductions to such emigrants as applied; and, if not, if he would explain who is responsible for such matters, and to whom can the emigrants apply for redress?


asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether any report has reached him of the condition of the passengers of the ship "Oxford," who were sent back to the dopñt in Devonport, where it is reported sickness has broken out among the emigrants owing to overcrowding and want of proper accommodation and attention?


My attention has been called to this case, and I find that the exact number of emigrants was 302, and not 400, as stated. I am informed that typhoid fever, not typhus, broke out at Cardiff, and that one of the emigrants and two seamen were detained in consequence, while the other emigrants were brought to Plymouth. Of these, 57 returned to their homes, and some went into lodgings at Plymouth, only about 20 going into the depot. There had been two cases in the hos- pital, and some eases not fatal amongst passengers lodging in the town, and not in the depot, so that it did not appear that the disease was consequent upon insufficient accommodation or overcrowding in connection with the depot. He was informed there were 776 separate berths in the depot, and these were only occupied by 90 persons. Only one complaint of overcrowding has been received, and it is being investigated. The emigrants are entitled to their 1s. 6d a-day; and if anyone does not receive it, he can at any moment apply to the Board of Trade officer on the subject.

In reply to Mr. MACLIVER,


said, the Government had no control over the depot, which was a private venture; but he did not understand there was any complaint that could lie against the manager of the depot in connection with this particular case.

In reply to Mr. PULESTON,


said, he was informed there was a scarcity of water on board, owing to the breakdown of one of the condensers; and he thought the doctor who was inquiring into the case was of opinion that the typhoid fever might have broken out in consequence of the use of impure water.