HC Deb 11 June 1891 vol 354 cc156-7

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with regard to the following statement made by Mr. Carr, the Secretary, at Hull, of the Sailors' and Firemen's Union:— The ship Cleomene, of Hull, arrived at Rochefort, from Melbourne, on 24th May, and the captain wished to pay the crew off on the Monday afternoon, and even went so far as to hire a conveyance to bring the Consul to Roche-fort, but the Consul refused to pay the crew off until Wednesday. The sailmaker, accompanied by two of the seamen, proceeded to Charente and asked the Consul the reason they could not be paid off, and he replied in a very offhand manner that he was not going to leave his business to run after a parcel of sailors, and that he would not come till Wednesday, the result being that the men missed the steamer for Cardiff on Monday night, also the steamer leaving Charente for London on the Tuesday night, and they had to come overland, or otherwise would have had to wait for another fortnight for the next steamer. Through coming overland it cost the men between £5 and £6 to reach Hull: I may state the Consul is an agent or clerk to the General Steam Navigation Company at Charente, and the ground for his refusing to pay the men oft' was on account of his having to get one of the above company's steamers away; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the Consul's conduct, and ascertain whether the above complaint is well founded?


The officer at Tonnay-Charente is an unpaid Consular Agent. Nothing is known of the circumstances alleged; but they have already been brought to the notice of Her Majesty's Government by the Member for East Hull, and inquiries as to them are being made.