§ COLONEL HUGHES-HALLETT (Rochester)
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he has seen an article in Fair Play of the 3rd April, headed Another Board of Trade Scandal; whether the statement contained in that article is true, to the effect that the cargo steamship Creole recently proceeded to sea with passengers in excess of the number allowed by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854; whether young children and other passengers signed on the ship's articles as forming part of the crew; and, whether the Board of Trade is cognizant of this evasion of the Law; and, if not cognizant, whether he will cause inquiries 566 to be made as to the serious allegations against his Department in the article referred to?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. MUNDELLA) (Sheffield, Brightside)
Since the hon. Gentleman's Question appeared on the Notice Paper, I have read the article referred to. The Board of Trade, having reason to believe that the master of the steamship Creole had been guilty of an irregularity in obtaining the clearance of his vessel, had taken action in the matter a month before the article appeared, and on March 11 gave notice to the owners that, in all probability, it would form the subject of a prosecution. The matter now waits the master's return to this country.