HL Deb 10 April 1851 vol 115 c1352

wished to know whether it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill relative to the Merchant Seamen's Fund during the present Session?


said, the Merchant Seamen's Fund was in an anomalous and mischievous state. An inquiry had been made into this subject, and no less than five Bills had been brought in by successive Governments to place the Fund upon a more efficient footing. But it was found impossible to carry these measures, in consequence of the remonstrances made by the shipping interest. Last year a Bill was brought into the other House for the regulation of this Fund; but its progress was delayed by the consideration necessary to be given to a more important Bill—the Mercantile Marine Bill. It was the intention of the Government to bring in a Merchant Seamen's Fund Bill at the beginning of this Session, and to have carried it through with all possible despatch; but the temper shown by the seamen with regard to the Mercantile Marine Bill, partly through a misapprehension of its provisions, and partly through the exertions of parties who were interested in the abuses it sought to remove, seemed to render it difficult to bring in a Bill on the Merchant Seamen's Fund, and to carry it out with any prospect of harmonious cooperation on the part of the seamen, seeing that they would be called upon for larger contributions, in order to make the pensions more adequate. The subject, however, had been reconsidered by the Government, and he hoped very soon to give some intimation to the House that an amended measure would be introduced during the present Session. He could not pledge himself, however, when the Bill would be brought in.


thought there was no reason for supposing that a fair and equitable measure would be opposed by the shipping interest.

House adjourned till To-morrow.