§ MR. NORRIS (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, If he is aware that, under various devices, the Law relating to Advance Notes to Seamen is systematically evaded; that forms of illegal advance notes are almost universally issued by shipowners as the only means of procuring seamen for Foreign-going ships; if he can explain why, in the Merchant Shipping Bill brought in by the late President of the Local Government Board in 1884, it was proposed in Clause 96 to repeal the Law of 1881, which enacted the abolition of advance notes; and, whether the Government will take steps to render advance notes legal if found to be in the joint interest of shipowners and seamen?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. MUNDELLA) (Sheffield, Brightside)
I am aware that under various devices the law as to advance notes is not unfrequently evaded; but on the whole the law has operated to the advantage of seamen, and has helped materially to check crimping. I am assured that the assumption in the hon. Member's Question that forms of illegal advance notes are almost universally issued by shipowners as the only means of procuring seamen for foreign-going ships is by no means correct. I understand that the provision in the draft Bill of 1884 was not intended as a bare repeal of the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1880 as regards advance notes, but was a proposal to allow such advances if restricted to one month's pay. The 604 whole question is under the consideration of the Royal Commission on Loss of Life at Sea, and any legislation on this subject must be deferred until the Commission has reported.