HL Deb 02 August 1850 vol 113 cc697-8

, in proposing the Second Reading of this Bill, briefly explained its provisions. It was intended, (said the noble Earl) to regulate matters connected with the mercantile marine of the country. In the first place, it gave to the Board of Trade the power of superintending the carrying out of those regulations; and, to enable that to be done, it gave to the board the power of appointing, as superintendents, persons who had practical information on the subject. It had reference, also, to that point which had been made a matter of accusation against the captains and mates of the merchant ships, that if they had not actually deteriorated, they had certainly not improved, in scientific attainments, nor in their general or moral conduct. The Bill, therefore, enabled the Board of Trade to appoint examining officers to examine all those who were candidates for those situations. Another object of the Bill was to insure greater discipline on board, and, as a proof of the necessity of such a provision, he referred to an instance that occurred some time ago, in which the captain of a vessel was put into irons by the crew; but, on arriving in port, as the law stood, no punishment could be awarded against him for his misconduct. It was as much for the interest of the seamen themselves as for the service in general that strict provisions should be made for maintaining good conduct on board. He would not, however, detain the House longer, as he intended to accede to the proposition of his noble Friend (Lord Stanley), that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee.


said, that as the Bill was to go to a Select Committee he would not oppose the second reading.


approved of the provisions of the Bill respecting the qualifications of masters and mates, but regretted that they were confined to foreign-going vessels.

Bill read 2a, and referred to a Select Committee.

House adjourned till To-morrow.