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MR. BENTINCK, in reference to the the three Bills he had referred to, it had statement which had been made by the been assumed that the loss of life at sea was hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll), mainly occasioned by the unseaworthiin apologizing to the House yesterday ness of the ship; whereas that was, in for the expressions he had used the pre- reality, one of the minor causes of that vious week, said, he must express his loss. The main causes of the loss of life surprise and regret that the hon. Mem- at sea were collisions, strandings, fires, ber should not, either upon that occasion shipping heavy seas, forcing quick or when he rose to speak upon this Bill, passages, bad seamanship, icebergs, and have taken the opportunity of distinctly floating wreck, none of which causes withdrawing the grave charges he had could be made subject to an Act of Parpreferred against hon. Members of that liament. There was another point which House. He understood that the hon. had to be considered in connection with Member, having preferred those charges, the enormous loss of life. He meant the had not withdrawn them.
form of ships. A long ship propelled by MR. PLIMSOLL rose to Order. The steam would carry a large amount of hon. Member was discussing a subject cargo with comparatively a small amount that was not under the consideration of of propelling power, and, therefore, she the House.
was a peculiarly profitable ship to send MR. SPEAKER ruled that the hon. to sea for mercantile purposes. But that Member for West Norfolk was in Order. long ship when she fell in with bad
MR. BENTINCK, continuing, said, he weather ran an unusual risk of being also regretted the fact that the hon. Mem- lost. Scores and hundreds of vessels ber for Derby had not told them it was had gone down in stress of weather his intention to prosecute these charges. simply because they had been built out of He (Mr. Bentinck) therefore hoped that all reasonable proportion. But was the the hon.Member for Plymouth would per- House to be asked to deal with the severe in the course of which he had given form of ships? Then came the quesNotice, and would move for a Com- tion of overloading. This was a question mittee, whose Report he hoped would involving great difficulties. It was, entirely exonerate the latter from the perhaps, impossible for anyone who was charges made against him by the hon. not a scientific builder to say
what was Member for Derby, if they had not been the proper load line for a ship. Were already altogether refuted by the conclu- they going to leave this point to be desive statements which had been made by cided by a Board of Trade surveyor, the hon. Member for Plymouth to-day. who probably had no knowledge of the He ventured to ask leave to say a few subject whatever ? And, if so, when was words with regard to this Bill, because it he to decide it—when the ship was built, appeared to him that the further the or when she was going to sea ? Then, House got into the subject the greater if they dealt with the question of load were the difficulties that had to be en- line in one sense they must deal with it countered, and the more hopeless did a in the other. Hundreds of ships went settlement of the matter seem. With to sea without sufficient ballast and were respect to grain loading, for instance, he lost in consequence. Therefore, Parliawas informed that loading corn in sacks ment would have to consider the case of would very much enhance its market vessels which were not loaded enough. price. The object of the House of Com- How were they going to deal with them? mons, stimulated as it was into action by Were they going to say that a ship must the agitation now going on out-of-doors, be loaded up to a certain mark ? It was to prevent loss of life at sea; but it was obvious that they must take the appeared to him that neither the original question both ways. He believed that, nor the present Bill of the Government, if statistics could be procured as to the nor the Bill of the hon. Member for number of ships lost from being overDerby, really touched the main causes of loaded and the number lost from not that loss of life. It had been said by the being sufficiently loaded, the latter highest authority that upon a careful would be found to form the majority. examination of the Wreck Register it He would not impede the progress of was a question whether any legislation the Bill, because they were bound to could have an appreciable effect in di- carry something; but he hoped the minishing the loss of life at sea. In all House would bear in mind the warning
of the noble Lord near him (Lord Esling- | discussions. There might sometimes be ton) that if the powers given were a tendency on their part—and it was a carried out in a spirit not conciliatory, natural tendency—to overrate the diffithe effect might be to destroy altogether culties, but surely it would be in the our coasting trade. He had no wish to highest degree unwise to ignore the sugdiscourage those who might be appointed gestions which came from those shipsurveyors, but he could not help thinking owners, who had practical experience in of the immense powers they would wield, the various matters which it was the and of the enormous amount of capital duty of the House to consider, and who over which they would exercise un- knew the subject best. With regard to limited control, if they were allowed on the Bill before the House, he was one of their own responsibility and judgment to those who felt that in adopting some of stop a ship from going to sea. Then as the measures which were recommended to this survey of which they had heard there was considerable danger, and did so much. A ship was to be stopped and not think that those who were desirous was to be surveyed. Some hon. Mem- of legislating on this matter would gain bers might not be aware, however, that anything by shutting their eyes to those in order to be properly surveyed a ship dangers. The question of a load line must discharge her cargo, must be taken was one of the utmost importance, but into a dry dock, and must be stripped of was surrounded with grave difficulties. her
copper, and that might mean ruin to His hon. Friend the Member for Pemthe shipowner. He hoped those to broke (Mr. E. J. Reed) had said that whom the work of inspection was en- every time a ship left port, the officials trusted would bear in mind the grave of the Board of Trade could fix a load responsibility which devolved upon them line; but an enormous fallacy underlay and that in trying to do good they would that theory. The officials might, of not really do harm in carrying out the course, tell when a ship was overloaded, duties they had to perform. These were but they could not, and did not, fix an points for the consideration of the House, exact line. The proposal that every shipand whatever was done respecting them, owner should fix his own load line was he hoped that nothing would be carried not surrounded by so many disadvanout which would damage the great mer- tages, although he did not believe that cantile interests of this country.
its employment could be so regulated as MR. HERSCHELL, referring to the to secure that saving of human life remarks of the hon. Member for Ply- which they all desired. There was conmouth (Mr. Sampson Lloyd) on the pre- siderable danger connected with legisceding evening, as to the number of lating on the load line, and, therefore, Amendments placed on the Paper with the subject ought to be approached in a reference to the Bill which had been calm and dispassionate spirit. But, at withdrawn, denied that in doing so he the end of the Session, there would be a had had any desire to obstruct the pro- disposition to accept without discussion gress of the Bill. It had been said that that which, at another time, would not they must give satisfaction to the coun- be accepted. Then, with regard to the try. What they ought to do, rather, compulsory survey of unclassed ships, was to give satisfation to their own con- the danger was that, while diminishing sciences. Nothing could be more dan- the responsibility of the shipowner, they gerous than a competition of philan-would only lull themselves into a false thropy on this subject. It seemed to security, and would not get what they him that justice had hardly been done to wanted. At the present moment there the shipowners in the discussions which were 6,000 unclassed ships, and he asked had taken place upon this subject. As where were they going to get the army far as he had seen, they had had no of Inspectors to survey them? Shipdesire whatever to impede the progress owners who were wicked enough knowof legislation, but, on the contrary, had ingly to send out unseaworthy ships been animated by an honest wish to would not stop short at an attempt to make the Government measure as good bribe the surveyors who might be apas possible. He had seen none of that pointed, and he thought it would be a esprit de corps, blinding them to the vices matter almost of impossibility to obtain of the present system, which had been so large a number of surveyors as would suggested as the characteristic of these be required for this purpose, and to be VOL. CCXXVI. (THIRD SERIES.]
sure that they were all men of the neces- | boats should be provided both for pas-
disaster and probity. Besides, a survey per- occurring at sea. petually carried on by the Government MR. GOSCHEN said, he thought the would be a dangerous thing. He had Chancellor of the Exchequer must feel been engaged in a great many cases that the indulgence he bespoke for the where the ship was undoubtedly unsea- Government measure had been accorded worthy, but where she had been sur-to it, and that considering the gravity of veyed and had excellent reports from its provisions and its somewhat unusual persons who would be said to be com- character, the House had treated the petent. Therefore, let it not be sup- measure with impartiality and fairness. posed if we were to have a Government. The right hon. Gentleman, as some exsurvey that we should have security.cuse for its imperfections, spoke of its But if we had the machinery, it might being proposed in an emergency. No be well to have occasional surveys. Just doubt, the emergency existed, and he as general domiciliary visits would be (Mr. Goschen) would not inquire into objectionable, while a raid into a given the causes which had produced it; but district or street to put down crime would the indulgence he bespoke for the Bill be allowable, so single surveys for the was, what might be asked for the suspurpose of weeding out unseaworthy pension of the Habeas Corpus Act after ships might be useful. But then as to Government had shown themselves unanother matter, the loading of grain in able properly to organize the police. bulk, that was an evil which could be This was practically a proposal to susascertained without that special skill and pend the Habeas Corpus Act as regarded knowledge which would be required in shipowners, and he thought the House the matters to which he had just alluded. generally would feel that the proposals Here it would be seen at once that the of the Government Bill, stringent as shipowner had not done his duty, and they were, had been received with fair
that point legislation was essential, ness by the shipowners. As what he seeing that the winter was coming on, stated on a former. occasion had been that there was likely to be an enormous referred to by the hon. Member for Hull influx of grain, and that, if things were (Mr. Norwood), he begged to explain left as they were, numbers of our sailors that what he did say was that the Bill might go to the bottom. Again, in the was not so stringent as might have been matter of deck cargoes, there was a expected from the first announcement of source of danger to which we could not the right hon. Gentleman at the head of shut our eyes, and shipowners them- the Government. He did not give any selves admitted it. There was no in- opinion as to whether the Bill went too superable difficulty in dealing with that far or did not go far enough. Of course, evil, and he would urge the Government it was a stringent Bill, and was only to deal with it. He earnestly hoped that justified by the emergency in which the the House might, before the close of the Government and the country found itself. Session, pass a satisfactory measure—a The Bill must be treated from two points measure which they might be able to of view—from that which it included look upon with satisfaction as likely to and from that which it excluded. The result in the saving of the lives of debate that day had rather been with their fellow-subjects--the saving of the regard to the topics which it excluded lives of a body of men to whose manly than upon the provisions which it concourage they were so much indebted, tained. The Chancellor of the Excheand who united with that courage an quer very properly invited attention to almost childish simplicity and helpless the points which were omitted from the ness which urgently called for sympathy Bill—the regulation of grain cargoes, and aid.
the regulation of deck cargoes, compul. Mr. BAILLIE COCHRANE said, he sory survey, and the question of the load only rose to offer one suggestion to the line. The right hon. Gentleman assented right hon. Baronet the President of the to the discussion in Committee of deck Board of Trade, that the Inspectors to loads and grain cargoes, but rather debe appointed, while they looked after murred to any discussion in Committee the seaworthiness of vessels, would also of the. questions of compulsory survey take are that a sufficient number of and load line. The House, however,
would remember that the hon. Member | drawn, dealing with deck cargoes and for Derby (Mr. Plimsoll) refrained from cargoes of grain. The hon. Member for pressing his own Bill, because he ex- Pembroke (Mr. E. J. Reed) understood pected, and was led by the Government it would be open to him to raise in Comto expect, that he would be able to raise mittee the questions to the discussion of many principles embodied in his own which the Government assented, and Bill in Committee on the Government which he hoped they would consent to Bill, and it was because of that that he deal with ; and he retained his perfect yielded discussion, and therefore he (Mr. freedom on the questions of compulsory Goschen) trusted the Government would survey and a load line, as to which it not think it necessary to prevent the dis would be well that the public should not cussion of those points, whatever might derive the impression that the discussion be their own views upon them. Some of those subjects had been shirked in parts of the question had been most ably any way. He (Mr. Goschen) trusted the discussed that day, and he congratulated Bill would pass that Session, and that the hon, and learned Member for Dur. the several matters to which he had ham (Mr. Herschell) upon the able drawn attention would be considered in speech he had just made on the subject Committee, with the view of making tho of load line and compulsory survey, in measure as complete as possible under which he had stated his opinions on what the circumstances. might be called the less popular side of MR. MAC IVER said, that the hon. the question with so much courage, frank- and learned Member for Durham (Mr. ness, and ability. It was most impor- Herschell), in his admirable and elotant that opinions should be expressed quent speech, had misstated the caso on both sides of these questions with of those who advocated survey and a freedom and frankness. The Government load line. Referring to the speech of might be perfectly certain that even if the noble Lord the Member for South those subjects were discussed, they would Northumberland (Lord Eslington), he be discussed not with the view of ob- (Mr. MacIver) said, there was no difstructing, but facilitating the progress of ficulty in knowing what was done in the measure. A practical and business- Montreal. The same thing was dono like discussion on those subjects in the voluntarily at every port in the United House of Commons would tend to quiet States at which grain was shipped; there the public mind. It would also facili- was no difficulty in saying what ought tate business if the Government had a to be done, but there was difficulty in exdistinct policy upon the question of deck pressing it in the clauses of an Act of Parloading. The Chancellor of the Exche- liament, and he guarded himself against quer was not disposed to admit that it accepting the proposals of the hon. Memcould be dealt with ; at the same time ber for Pembroke (Mr. Reed) as they he had left it open to the Government stood. He hoped the House would agree to adopt regulations should it be the to the second reading of the Bill withopinion of the House that such regula- out a division; and he wished to contions should be passed. As it was evi-gratulate the Government upon the exdent they would make some regulations cellent spirit and intention in which under pressure, it would be much more their measure was conceived. He thought business-like and practical if they would it afforded a better opportunity for fairly at once set to work to prepare a clause debating the only questions of immediate to be introduced into their Bill. The importance than was po ble with resame remark applied to the question of gard to the voluminous measure which grain cargoes. The Bill would only deal had been abandoned. There were other with outward-bound ships; there was questions of importance in regard to no provision in it which touched ships which he had ventured to give Notice coming to this country. On that head, yesterday, in the hope that, after mathe did not think the argument of the ters had been sufficiently discussed Chancellor of the Exchequer at all con amongst the parties interested, the Goclusive. It might be possible to deal vernment would themselves bring in with deck cargoes coming from foreign by-and-by a complete measure for concountries. Even at that time of the solidation and amendment of the laws Session, he thought shipowners would relating to Merchant Shipping, and be ready to accept of clauses, if carefully would also bear in mind that the increased duties which railways and ship- of survey was a bad one? In regard to ping had brought upon the Board of load line, the opinion of the Royal ComTrade rendered every day more neces- missioners was equally decided, and he sary some considerable change in re- thought equally without foundation. In gard to the economy of the Depart- conclusion, he said he did not like the ment. If the withdrawal of his pro- Act of 1873 at all
. He thought its proposed Amendments would facilitate in visions in regard to the detention of unany way the passing of the measure, he seaworthy ships had mainly been exerwould cheerfully place them on one side. cised against the poorer class of shipHe had just received a letter from a owners, and in a manner destructive to London solicitor of very considerable ex- the coasting trade of the country. He perience in regard to shipping, which said that the powers in regard to dewas so entirely apropos that he would taining ships were already excessively read an extract from it to the House. arbitrary, and far greater than they The writer said,
ought to be, and that what was really “The saddle is being put on the wrong horse should be increased, but that they should
required was not that those powers The Government is not to blame; the late Government did exactly as they have done, or, be more judiciously administered. He indeed, they did worse. Sir Charles Adderley was quite sure, from what the right hon. has done his best, and Mr. Disraeli very likely Gentleman the President of the Board spoke the simple truth, when he said he with- of Trade had said on a former occasion, drew the Bill with regret. The real blame rests with the permanent officials of the Board that the Government would be inclined of Trade. They made the Royal Commission a to take that view of the subject, if it delusion, and got the present Government first could be sustained in debate. He thought to propose a monstrous measure, and then to the question so little of a Party one, that shrink from a discussion of it."
he might tell the Government that, if Those views were very widely held, and they carried the Bill in its present form, he had therefore taken the liberty of the effect would be to worry the shipstating them to the House, but he did owners without protecting the men, and not mean to say that he entirely con- to discredit the Conservative party at curred with them. He had, personally, every seaport in the Kingdom. But as a great deal of respect for the able per- the Government were evidently desirous manent officials of the Board of Trade, that the measure should be made a good some of whom were personal friends; one, he hoped the House would agree and he had no desire to bring any to read the Bill a second time, without charge against them, except that he a division, and so enable the right hon. thought they were overworked, and that Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) to some considerable change in the inter- bring these questions to a satisfactory nal economy of the Department was solution. really required. He differed entirely MR. RATHBONE said, there were from the Commissioners on the subject two Liverpool steamship-owners living of classification and survey, and thought who had been examined before the that the facts of the case were as clearly Royal Commission, and one of them demonstrable as that two and two made was Mr. Charles Mac Iver. He (Mr. four. Liverpool was second to no port Rathbone) had seen a letter in a newsin the Kingdom either as regarded its paper from an eminent shipowner stating steamships or as regarded its sailing that the load line had not so much imships, and the simple truth of the matter portance as was generally ascribed to it. was that almost every one of the magni
MR. MAC IVER interrupted, and ficent vessels on which the Liverpool said that his hon. Friend (Mr. Rathpeople prided themselves was already in bone) had stopped in the middle of a some form or other surveyed. The splen- sentence; and that the next few words, did iron ships for which the Mersey was which it did not suit his hon. Friend to so well known were, almost without ex- read, entirely altered the meaning. ception, already surveyed and classed, MR. DISRAELI : I wish, Sir, to and he challenged his hon. Friend op- impress upon the House the necessity of posite (Mr. Rathbone) on the subject, remembering that it is of the greatest as he had done on a former occasion. importance, especially on a subject upon How, therefore, he asked, could it be which we are mainly agreed to read reasonably maintained that the principle this Bill a second time, and I trust that