HC Deb 02 March 1896 vol 37 cc1478-9

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, whether it could be made obligatory on shipmasters or shipping companies to forward quarterly Returns to the Board of Trade, differentiating between passengers of the tourist class leaving Great Britain and Ireland and emigrants intending to permanently settle in the Colonies or other countries, with a view to the provision of reliable data on which an accurate statement of the actual amount of emigration from the British Isles might be based?


The Board of Trade have no power to compel shipmasters or shipping companies to make Returns showing whether the passengers they carry are tourists or emigrants. A slight consideration of the subject of distinguishing between different classes of passengers will show the impossibility of shipowners being able to supply correctly such information, because they could know nothing but what the passengers told them; whereas, by giving the place at which the passengers disembarked, they are stating what is within their knowledge or that of their servants. The account of actual emigration now obtained from the balance of emigration over immigration is as accurate as one obtained from doubtful returns made by shipowners showing which amongst the passengers they carried were emigrants.