HC Deb 13 April 1886 vol 304 cc1435-6
CAPTAIN EDMUND VERNEY (Buckinghamshire, N.)

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether his attention has been called to letters in The Standard, signed by "A Shipowner," and headed "A Gross Abuse," in which it is stated, respecting a seaman paid off at the Board of Trade Office at Poplar— That, no sooner had one of the foreigners, and a good sailor, left the office, after receiving the balance of his wages, some twelve pounds, than he was set upon by a crowd of roughs, and every penny of his money taken from him, as well as his A.B. discharge; whether any official inquiry has been made into the case; and, if so, whether he will state the results of the inquiry; and, whether, if the story be true, robberies of a like nature can be prevented by any further action on the part of the members of the Staff of the Poplar Office, or otherwise?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. MUNDELLA) (Sheffield, Brightside)

I have seen the statement, and find on inquiry that it is substantially correct. A Norwegian sailor was robbed of his money; but, according to his own account, it was in a public-house, where he had gone with a number of men and called for two gallons of beer. Whilst he was paying for this a quantity of loose money was knocked out of his hand and scrambled for; and in a scuffle to recover it two Bank notes, and his certificate of discharge, were stolen. When this man was paid off he was urged by the Board of Trade officers to deposit his money and to take in lieu of it a money order, by which means he might have received his money at any port. This he declined to do, with the results I have stated. We do all we can to induce sailors to take advantage of these facilities, and I am glad to say an increasing number do so; but still there are a great many robberies, and it is impossible for the Board of Trade to prevent them.