§ MR. J. HAVELOCK WILSON (Middlesbrough)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state what fees Consular officers are allowed to charge for the shipment of seamen on board of English vessels in foreign ports; whether he is aware that certain agents who use the Consul's 1135 office in the port of Antwerp charge seamen 10s. each as a shipping fee; whether he is aware that seamen are unable to secure employment on board of English ships in the port of Antwerp unless through the agency of these men; whether he is also aware that crews are signed on by these agents in the absence of the Consul; and whether he can see his way to prevent these men using the Consul's office for the purpose of extorting such fees from the seamen?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir EDWARD GREY, Northumberland, Berwick)
The statutory fee paid to Government is two shillings for each seaman shipped. We have no knowledge as to the alleged action of agents, but if evidence is given an inquiry will be instituted.
§ MR. J. HAVELOCK WILSON
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state how many able seamen and firemen were shipped on board of English vessels during the year 1894 in the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, Antwerp, and Rotterdam; whether he can state how many of such sailors and firemen were British and how many were foreigners; and whether he will cause to be published in the Labour Gazette the number of foreigners signed on as able seamen and firemen on British vessels in British ports, also the number of foreigners signed on as able seamen and firemen on British vessels in the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, Antwerp and Rotterdam?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. J. BRYCE, Aberdeen, S.)
The information asked for by the hon. Member is not in the possession of the Board of Trade. As respects the last paragraph of the question it would not be safe to undertake to publish in the Labour Gazette any particular information, as in editing the Gazette it is necessary to deal with the contents according to the varying exigencies of space.