§ MR. A. O'CONNOR
I beg to ask the Attorney General whether sailors in the Mercantile Marine, engaged in coasting and cross-channel service, are disqualified in England in respect of the Parliamentary Franchise; and whether 692 there is any distinction between such sailors and sailors engaged under articles in Foreign-going ships?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
Sailors in the Mercantile Marine, in whatever service engaged, are not disqualified by reason of their absence from their homes unless they happen to fall within the rule laid down by the Courts in "Ford v. Barnes" and other cases, and in that event they are protected by the Electoral Disabilities Bill passed this Session, assuming that their absence does not exceed four months. There is no distinction been coasting and foreign-going ships. I would, however, point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that the question depends upon whether the absence from home is voluntary or compulsory.