HL Deb 19 June 1857 vol 146 cc1-3

said, he wished to put a question to his noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade of which he had given him notice. Their Lordships might have seen the report of a case which had been brought before the Liverpool Police Office involving circumstances of a most atrocious character. It would appear that a man, who had been engaged on board a ship that was to sail from Demerara to Liverpool, during the course of the voyage was subjected to treatment of the most atrocious nature by the captain and the mate. Not only was he scourged, starved, and put in irons, but upon occasions, a large ferocious dog was let loose upon him, which tore his flesh, and left him lying in a pool of blood; the result of this treatment was that in a short time the poor man died, and the body was thrown overboard. On the ship reaching Liverpool the matter was brought before the police office there. Now, he wished to know whether the subject had received the attention of the Government, and whether measures would be taken to bring the parties implicated to justice? He also might be allowed to ask, whether it was the intention of the Government to introduce a measure for the better regulation of the mercantile marine?


said, that he could assure his noble Friend, that the Board of Trade would always do their utmost to prevent the perpetration of such atrocious cruelties as those to which the noble Earl had referred. His attention had been directed to the case alluded to, which he admitted, taking the facts to be as they were given in evidence at the police court, was one of very gross cruelty. A prosecution had been instituted, the master and mate had been committed, bail being refused, and they now awaited their trial. He might observe that it was the duty of the master to forward information of all cases of death occurring under circumstances of suspicion on board of any vessel arriving at the port to the Board of Trade, who, if they thought the facts warranted it, would prosecute the parties implicated. A similar case of cruelty to that referred to by his noble Friend had occurred very recently on board a vessel called the Anna Jane, where a sailor died from the ill-treatment he received. That case was brought to the notice of the Board of Trade in the way he had stated, and the guilty party was prosecuted at the last Spring Assizes, and was transported for life.

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