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country of export; and it was the action sired was that the question should be as of the exporting country which must be fairly, as fully, and as frankly discussed called into operation in order to deal as possible. They were prepared to give with those evils. Nothing could be more their best energies and their best time to creditable than the course that had the consideration of it; and from the been taken in the matter by the Canadian feeling of the House he thought they Government and the great body of under- might close the Session with a measure writers of New York, and they had had which, though far from complete, would their reward, for he had just been told be really a step forward, and with that since those regulations as to ship- pledges given of a material character for ping grain in bulk came into force the a thorough dealing with, and a sifting of, rate of insurance on grain cargoes from the question in the next Session of ParSan Francisco to this country had fallen liament. There was only one other point from five guineas to 458. a-ton, showing to which he wished to allude—he meant where action was taken by those who the Amendment of which Notice had were interested the truth of the obser- been given by the hon. and learned vation of the hon. Member for Derby, Member for Durham (Mr. Herschell). that proper legislation and provisions It was an Amendment which was strictly would add to the wealth of the country, germane to the purposes of the Bill, and as well as to the safety of our seamen. one which the Government would have But that action, as he had said, had been been willing to adopt if their Merchant taken by the exporting country; and Shipping Bill had proceeded. That they had a much more difficult and deli- Amendment made it penal for any shipcatë task to deal with. How were they to owner or any other person to send, or regulate grain cargoes in this country? I take part in sending, an unseaworthy They could not by legislation here en- ship to sea. They heard, in the Answer sure the adoption of proper regulations given to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. for shipping grain at Odessa. [Mr. Evelyn Ashley) yesterday, that in one PLIMSOLL: Yes.] They might resolve respect the present law had been ineffecto punish those who had infringed such tive; and they believed that the Amendregulations when they came to this coun- ment of the hon. and learned Member try; but were they to touch the ship for Durham would meet the difficulty. which came across, or the ship that did At all events, they were prepared to not ? If the ship came across with safety accept it; and they were grateful to the it would be found very hard and difficult hon. and learned Member for the assistto punish the man who had brought his ance he had lent them in the matter. ship over in safety; and if they sought to That was the position in which they punish the man whose ship had been lost, stood. They regretted exceedingly that where were they to get the evidence ? they had not been able to go on with They would find that they were entering more complete legislation that year. But upon a most delicate and difficult task; he must say for himself that he should and although he did not say the subject prefer the matter standing over to next was not worthy of consideration, or that year to attempting to pass a complete they were not prepared to entertain and Bill and failing to do so; for if they discuss proposals which might be made passed a half-measure they would be by Gentlemen whose authority was very stopped from taking it up again, as it great in matters of the kind, he guarded would be held to have been disposed of himself and the Government against its in 1875. He believed they would come being supposed that they were insensible to the consideration of the matter next to the difficulties of the question, or that year with enlarged experience and inthey were prepared to adopt the pro- creased determination to grapple with posals which might be made. But they that difficult subject; and he believed would consider them. They did not that the small measure they were asking wish to shut them out. Unfortunately, the House to adopt on the present occahe did not hear the Notice given by the sion would be of use not only in averthon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rath- ing some amount of misery and suffering bone), but he knew he had paid great during the coming winter, but as formattention to the subject, and his sugges- ing a foundation for future legislation. tion might afford some solution of the MR. A. PEEL said, he should not difficulty. All that the Government de- have taken aay part in the debate had he not been Secretary to the Board of remind the House that that hon. MemTrade when the Acts of 1871, 1872, and ber had, at a trades union meeting in 1873 were passed, which the right hon. the country, stated that he felt satisfied Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exche- with the action of the Board of Trade quer now proposed to supplement by in stopping vessels which had been overthis temporary measure. He agreed loaded. The hon. Member claimed that with almost everything which had been there had been a wonderful decrease in said by the right hon. Gentleman, and, overloading since he had taken the indeed, he should have found it difficult matter in hand, and he certainly was to disagree, because the speech of the entitled to make that observation. He right hon. Gentleman was couched in (Mr. A. Peel) hoped the Bill would be such general terms that he did not see read a second time; but he also thought the immediate application of it to the some of the Amendments upon the question now before the House. It was Notice Paper might be usefully introtrue that the right hon. Gentleman said duced. The mere duration of the Act the root of the evil was insurance; but for a year was in itself no answer to they had agreed to defer that question the complaints of the shipping interest: until next Session, and they had now to but the evils were admitted, and he deal with a specific remedy for a specific thought the Government might even evil. He regretted that they were driven go further than they had ventured to into a corner by the action of the Go-do. In regard to deck cargoes and“ vernment, and had not sufficient elbow-the Act of 1839, the Chancellor of the room to go into the question fairly, as Exchequer had not stated that it was they might have done if the original only passed for a year, and that it was Bill of the Government had been pro- made permanent in 1840. This Bill ceeded with, for they might have intro- was to meet an emergency. They would duced Amendments which would have not probably come together again till made it a satisfactory measure, and the winter was well through, and withshould not have run the risk which out harassing the shipping interest, he they had since incurred by dealing with thought it would be possible, following a vital and important question in a the course taken in 1839, to pass a state of excitement which was not con- stringent measure which would have the ducive to its proper settlement. He effect of preventing during the winter wished to remind the House that the the acknowledged evils at present arising Act of 1873, which repealed former Acts in the North Atlantic, especially from and provisions, was an important one, as deck cargoes. He did not wish to speak it comprised provisions dealing with without book on the question ; but, in nearly everything which could be found the Appendix to the Report of the Royal wrong in a ship, and amongst other Commission the evidence of Mr. Fry, things it enabled seamen on a charge of whose experience of the North Atlantic desertion to obtain compensation for any trade extended over 30
years, unnecessary detention, and it gave the quoted, to the effect that during the Board of Trade power to stop ships for season of 1872, 62 large vessels sailing a variety of reasons, amongst them being between the St. Lawrence and Great over or improper loading. A weak point, Britain were totally lost, and he said he however, was found in that Act. The was convinced that fully three-fourths Board of Trade had to act through the re- of the losses of wood-laden ships in the port of a surveyor, who was not competent North Atlantic trade were owing, directly to stop a ship, and the consequence was or indirectly, to the practice of carrying that it frequently incurred odium, if not deck cargoes. He did not wish to shut ridicule, because in the interval between his eyes to the difficulties of legislating a report being sent by the surveyor and for deck loads, and there was much force an order being made to stop the vessel in the inquiry of the right hon. Gentleto which it referred, the ship had sailed. man as to how they could punish a man The Government in proposing to remedy whose ship had arrived in safety. But, that defect had done a very good work. knowing that great loss of life did result He was much gratified at the tone of the from the practice, it would be right to speech of the hon. Member for Derby insist upon proper precautions. He (Mr. Plimsoll) towards the Bill, but he thought, therefore, they could legislate expected nothing else, for he would now to prevent deck loading, if they
Mr. A. Peel
were convinced that a great loss of life every shipmaster preparing his ship for took place in consequence of it. Under the carriage of corn should give notice the Bill a large number of surveyors to the superintendent or port warden, would have to be appointed all over the who took care that the dividing planks country. They would be entrusted with were properly fitted, and satisfied himvery difficult and responsible duties, and self that the timber was properly if he referred to an ominous clause in seasoned and of a right description. the Act of 1872, which imposed a penalty These precautions were the result of a upon accepting bribes, it was only to strict law, and therefore, in legislating point to the danger of appointing as on this subject on the spur of the surveyors men with a small salary, who moment, and in regard to cargoes shipped would be open to temptation ; while, on all over the world, they must not be too the other hand, they could only obtain hopeful that their legislation would be experienced surveyors by paying them all at once successful. No vessel leaving at a high rate for their services. He a Canadian port was allowed to have thought that the Bill would, on the more than a certain quantity of grain whole, be satisfactory, and while he ad- without a bulkhead. These facts were mitted that a much more stringent mea- ascertained and recorded by the harbour sure than the present one would harass master. The House, however, must not an important and increasing trade, still be too sanguine in expecting the same if the Government could see their way to results in legislating for cargoes shipped deal with deck loading in such a manner from ports all over the world. as would meet the difficulties during the difficult to regulate the loading of grain ensuing winter, he felt sure that they ships from Russia, Turkey, and Egypt, would still further satisfy the expecta- for example, because our laws were intions of the country.
operative in foreign ports. We could LORD ESLINGTON said, he must ex- only proceed against those who had press his regret that in the calm and broken the law when they arrived at lucid statement of the hon. Member for home, and we could merely empower Derby (Mr. Plimsoll) he had not given our Custom House officers to initiate a utterance to some expression of regret prosecution. If, however, a ship arrived for the language he had used with re- safely there would be great reluctance ference to the hon. Member for Ply- on the part of a jury to convict, and the mouth (Mr. Bates.) “It was never too success of the voyage would go a great late to mend," and a blow having been way towards exculpating the shipowner. inflicted which affected that hon. Gen- The House should remember that this tleman's reputation in the most cruel was a trade on which millions of money manner, he would still hope that the depended, and if any restrictions were hon. Member for Derby would offer some placed upon the importation of grain expression of his regret to the hon. with the view of regulating it, they would Member for Plymouth. He wished to have as loud an outcry against the armake a few remarks as to the course in- rival of ships bearing the people's food dicated by the Government, and to make being impeded and restrained as they some remarks as to the regulations which now had against overloading. Allusion prevailed in the Dominion of Canada re- had frequently been made to the number lative to the loading of grain ships, and of ships that had passed off Lloyd's Rethe carrying of timber deck loads. He gister, and which, it was said, were to be did not wish to check the impulse of the numbered by thousands. The hon. MemHouse to legislate in that direction, but ber for Derby spoke of these ships as the question was not without difficulty, having lost their class, and as being unand he would remind the House that at classed and unseaworthy. But many of Montreal, the principal port for the ex- these ships which passed off Lloyd's Reportation of grain, the conduct of the gister obtained classification from other shipping was under the absolute super- societies; and it was to be presumed they intendence of a gentleman who brought only obtained such classification after 50 years' experience to the work, and survey. He would not vouch for the who had obtained an amount of public calculation; but he had heard it said that confidence which could hardly be ex-60 per cent were registered in the books
cted to be given to the officers of the of the German Lloyd's and in other Board of Trade. The law there was that foreign registries, in every one of which
classification could only be obtained by what was most for the public benefit, survey. When a demand was made for but he regretted the very cautious the strict survey of ships, it seemed to be and guarded speech which fell from the taken for granted that the trade was in Chancellor of the Exchequer. [“No, the hands of great firms. But the chief no!”] The Government had introduced trainers of our seamen were the small a Bill on this subject, which they saw fit shipowners, and if their enterprize were to withdraw, and it was not till there had checked the monopoly of the trade would been a strong expression of public feeling be thrown into the hands of the large that a temporary measure was introshipowners. Small shipowners carried duced. He repeated that he had on the greater part of the coasting trade, listened with regret to the exceedingly and they were, perhaps, the most skilful guarded nature of the speech of the navigators in the world. The small ships right hon. Gentleman. It was a speech were oftened owned and navigated by a well adapted to the introduction of man with the help of his own sons and a Bill at the commencement of a Sesnephews. The trade formed a noble sion, but very badly adapted to the nursery
of seamen, and, on the whole, it bringing in of a measure like that before was safely conducted, and the House the House at the end of a Session, and should be very careful not to interfere under the circumstances out of which it with it. He should be glad if the Go- had arisen. When they were legislating vernment would insert some protecting on load lines and deck loads it was words in the clause empowering one- necessary to be very careful, but it was fourth of the crew to call for a survey important to pass a measure which would and prevent a ship from going to sea. cause satisfaction to the public. NotThe ordinary crew of a vessel of 500 withstanding all the guards with which tons was eight men; and if two of them the right hon. Gentleman had surwere foreigners, or chanced to be ill-rounded the subject, he (Mr. Reed) was conditioned men who came on board in glad that the Government in Committee a state of intoxication, it would be would consider the question of grain dangerous to give them the power of cargoes and deck cargoes, and if they threatening the master with a survey. introduced clauses which would strike He was very glad to hear from his right at the root of the evil their proposals hon. Friend that words would be inserted would meet universal concurrence on in the Bill to prevent frivolous attempts that side of the House, and he, for one, to obtain a survey of ships about to pro- did not care a single straw whether the ceed to sea.
words of the necessary Amendments MR. E. J. REED said, he was sure were those of the President of the Board that hon. Members speaking on this sub of Trade or those of which he had given ject would bear in mind that it should Notice. He had, however, heard with be discussed in view of the fact that they much regret that the Government were were approaching the end of the Ses- not willing to entertain the questions of sion, and without any attempt or desire to survey and load line during the present gain an advantage over the Government. Session. They were thus about to act as It should be discussed in a tone entirely though their own measure did not virfree from Party bias, and they should tually involve the settlement of a load rather support the Government, and not line for ships, and the consideration of put any unnecessary obstruction in their whether ships were or were not seaway. He feared that the object and worthy. A moment's reflection, howwish of hon. Members on that side of the ever, would show that the measure must House were alike misunderstood by the imply a definition of load line, and the Government. They had no desire to im- question of soundness or unsoundness. pose upon the Government any precise Could the President of the Board of regulation or form of words, but only Trade or any agent acting for him lay to induce them, in view of the feeling hold of a ship on the ground that she prevailing outside the House, to go that was overloaded without defining the line length which was necessary to give satis- beyond which she ought not to have been faction to the country, because it was the loaded ? Assuredly not; and, therefore, duty of a Government to do all that was what they asked, in the interest of trade necessary to maintain public tranquillity and commerce and of the shipowners The Government were bound to consider themselves, was that the Government
should not wait till a particular ship was sioners had said as to load line. They overloaded, but should, in the first in- said that undoubtedly the mere freestance, tell the shipowner the point board of a ship was not a proper thing beyond which he could not safely load by which to define its safety, and furthe vessel. That was a more business- ther, that the surplus buoyancy of a like and statesmanlike proceeding than ship above water was the proper thing; that the authorities should step in just at or as near to the proper thing as could the moment when a ship was on the be got at, to define the safety of a ship. point of being sent to sea. He trusted, Thus, for the very reason that the House therefore, that Her Majesty's Govern- would have adopted the term “surplus ment would by some form of words of buoyancy,” it had been avoided in the their own, in Committee carry out that Report of the Committee, who had which was really involved in the Bill. finessed with small considerations and The same
argument applied to the had avoided broad ones, thereby leadquestion of soundness. The President ing the Government into the greatest of the Board of Trade could not stop a difficulties. In fact, he believed the ship on the ground of unseaworthiness Government would have drawn a much without being in a position to show better Bill without than with the Report. that she was unseaworthy. Why, then, In his opinion, the facts to which he had should not that also be done long before referred demanded that the House should the vessel was ready to proceed to sea ? step somewhat out of the usual course, There might be reasons against the and should see whether they could not course he suggested, but if there were, pass a measure which would give gethey were Departmental reasons-rea- neral satisfaction. His conviction was sons arising out of the labour and that there was such a disposition on the duty the measure would throw upon the Opposition side of the House as would Board of Trade. But that was no suffi- enable the Government, if they chose, cient argument against the proposal, to pass a measure that would be gebecause the Board of Trade existed for nerally approved. The hon. Member the purpose of performing those duties, for Hull (Mr. Norwood) had given a and he believed the right hon. Gentle- Notice of an Amendment with regard to man opposite the President of the Board the load line, which the Government of Trade would be the last man to shrink would not be justified in rejecting, which from the exercise of a public duty of went to the extent that the shipowner this nature. Although he had high should be compelled to mark upon the authority for believing that the remov- side of his vessel such load line as he ing of obstructions from the Committee thought would fairly represent the carry, was not necessary in this case, yet he ing power of his ship. He believed considered it only respectful to the Go- that if the Government accepted the vernment to omit from his Instruction Amendment of his hon. Friend so that all mention of deck cargoes and the the Courts might be able to deal with stowage of grain cargoes; but he would them, in the event of any accident ocbe false to the views he had expressed, curring, there would be no serious oppoand to the support he had received, if sition to it. What had caused public he did not raise the questions of survey agitation and resentment was, the fact and load line, and he should, therefore, that shipowners should go on overloadalter his Notice in that sense. The right ing beyond all sense of decency and prohon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the priety; and what was asked for was not Exchequer had alluded to the fact that a scientific definition of a load line, but the Government were guided in the the fixing of a line beyond which it matter by the Report of the Royal Com- would be opprobrious to go. He trusted missioners on Unseaworthy Ships. For that the Government would receive in his part, he believed, and firmly be- all sincerity what had fallen from bon. lieved, that that Report lay at the root Members in Opposition as to their being of the errors which the Government had a great disposition on their part to have committed. He gave them credit for concurrent action in this matter with a having followed strictly the recommen- view to the passing of a measure which dations of the Report, but to show that would give satisfaction to the country those recommendations were wrong, he and meet the objects which all had at had only to point to what the Commis- heart,