HC Deb 12 March 1900 vol 80 cc592-3

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are the results of the careful consideration of Her Majesty's Government, promised by him last August*, of the questions affecting British shipping which arise in connection with Departmental Circular, No. 17, dated 8th February, 1899, promulgated by the Treasury Department of the Bureau of Navigation at Washington, U.S.A., reciting an amendment in the Federal Laws of 1884 by an Act approved on the 21st of December, 1898;whether, under the amendment referred to, it becomes unlawful to pay any seaman wages in advance of the time when he has actually earned the same; and whether Her Majesty's Government have been able by negotiation to reserve the British shipowners and British seamen in the United States the right to make and receive advances, which are legal in this country.


Advances to seamen are strictly prohibited by the United States Act of December 21st, 1898, but provision is made for allotment notes not exceeding one month's wages in favour of original creditors. The prohibition of advances is made applicable to foreign ships as to vessels of the United State. The Act appears to Her Majesty's Government to be directed against crimping. In those circumstances Her Majesty's Government have not thought it necessary to enter into any negotiations at *See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxv., page 1363. present on the subject. The Act will be closely watched.