HL Deb 04 August 1840 vol 55 cc1236-7

Viscount Duncannon moved the second reading of the Pilot Bill. This bill was for regulating the system of pilotage in the Cinque Ports. The inhabitants of those ports, who were part owners of vessels, claimed the privilege of being free from pilotage; and although when there were only sailing vessels little inconvenience arose from it, yet now that there were so many steamers, it be came a matter of consequence, for the captains or mates of those vessels having taken a lodging in one of the towns of the Cinque Ports for a short time, and having entered their names as part proprietors, were thus enabled to evade the pilotage dues. The French government had complained of steamers from Havre to England being obliged to pay 18l. a voyage for pilotage, while British steamers were, in fact, exempt from it, and this bill was, therefore, brought in to prevent such frauds being practised by British steamers in future.

The Duke of Wellington

regretted that the whole correspondence between the Board of Trade and the Warden of the Cinque Ports on this subject had not been laid on the table of the House, as it would show the grounds on which the system now proposed was founded. The privilege to which his noble Friend had alluded, was one that had become an abuse, as the pilots were deprived of their business of pilotage. All he desired was, that justice should be done to that class of men, who, he would answer for it, did their duty, and who were put to great expense in order to enable them to perform that duty. He certainly preferred the first scheme that was proposed by the Board of Trade; but he would not oppose the second reading of the bill.

The bill read a second time.