Imatges de pÓgina

seamen of other countries, they would be prepared to consider the question of the reenactment of the apprenticeship system.' Well, concessions had now been made in that matter, and that body therefore now came forward with perfect consistency to petition Parliament in favour of re-enacting the clause requiring apprentices to be taken in all merchant vessels. He was aware, however, that his right hon. Friend had received a counter-memorial from a minority of the shipowners of Liverpool gentlemen to whose respectability he was well pleased to testify. At the same time, it was his intention to move the re-enactment of the requirement clause in the terms of which he had given notice. But there was another far more important omission in the Bill; he alluded to the fact that no notice was taken in it of a question the most interesting to shipowners throughout the country. He referred to the operation of the Act, the 9 & 10 Vict. c. 93, commonly called Lord Campbell's Act. Now that Act either did, or did not, apply to shipping; if it did, and it had been held by the courts of law to do so, he maintained it was the duty of the Government to have introduced a clause to that effect into the Bill. That Act was originally intended to apply to railway accidents only, but in consequence of the decision of the law courts, shipowners were placed in a position perfectly inconsistent with every principle of justice. For in what position did they stand? He was not desirous to exempt the shipowner from any responsibility which should legitimately fall upon him, but it had been admitted by Lord Campbell himself that he had never intended that Act to apply to shipping. Under its operation the wealthiest shipowner might be ruined in a single hour. There was no limit to his responsibility, and he asked that the shipowner should be placed in the position in which he was previously to the passing of the Act. Under former Acts the liability of the shipowner had been confined to the value of the ship and freight; and in asking now that their liability should be confined to that, he thought that they were not asking too much. With the law, as it existed, no prudent man could own a ship. He certainly would not undertake for any premium that might be offered to carry a cargo of passengers under the present law and the liabilities which it imposed; and he trusted that in Committee the right

hon. Gentleman would insert some clause which should confine the liability of shipowners to the value of the ship and freight. If that were not done, he was satisfied that the Bill would frustrate one great object which the Government had in view the giving protection to emigrants going abroad; for it would prevent all prudent men from owning vessels, and none but speculators and adventurers would engage in the trade. If the right hon. Gentleman did not do so, he should himself propose a clause to that effect in Committee.

CAPTAIN SCOBELL said, he must remind the House of the part which he had taken in the discussion on the "manning clauses" last year. Since then war had been declared, and he thought the value of the British seamen must have been raised, because the want of men was more felt. The commerce and the wealth of this country depended on our having the supremacy of the seas. To secure this, we must use every means in our power in the encouragement and cultivation of seamen, and it was a matter which deserved their grave consideration, that within a period of four years the number of the class upon whom our supply of seamen must depend had been diminished from 34,000 to 13,000. That was a change of the law which he had also objected to, and he had moved the House on a previous occasion to reinstate the apprentice clauses. Of all the measures he had ever known carried as affecting the moral supremacy of the country, these two measures for repealing the manning clauses and the apprentice clauses were the most serious, and he believed it would be long before the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty succeeded in repairing the mischief he had committed in supporting their repeal. He believed, however, the Admiralty had done their best in endeavouring to man the Navy, with this exception, that they had not, as was always done before at the beginning of a war, induced seamen to enter by the offer of a bounty. Bounties were offered to marines, to the coast-guard, to every department of the Army, but seamen alone were excepted from the rule. The consequence of this was, that they had got abundance of landsmen, but not abundance of able-bodied seamen. He therefore hoped the Government would take this opportu nity of reinstating the apprentice clauses in the present Bill. They could never make men into seamen. It was rarely found,



indeed, that a man of twenty-one years of hon. Gentleman felt, with him, that it age ever became reconciled to the sea, or would be most desirable to refrain from that he acquired the smartness necessary all legislation on the subject if it was posfor a sailor. He was glad to learn, how-sible to avoid it. Many attempts had been ever, that the Admiralty had entered a made to enable the sailor to realise the number of boys in the Royal Navy, and full value of those notes, but all had failed. no doubt they would get good topmen in It would be the greatest possible boon if this way; but the good leading seamen- the House could put down these advance the men who could do their duty from notes altogether, not to the shipowner only, stem to stern-must chiefly come from the but still more to the seamen themselves. merchant service where they had learned They were the great inducement to deserthe necessary duties of a seaman. And tion; but, still more, they encouraged imyet how much this matter was neglected provident habits on the part of the sailors, in the mercantile navy might be inferred who, if they once found that they could from this fact, that of 400 or 500 ships not get a supply of money to fit them out that sailed from Liverpool in 1851 with for another voyage, if they wasted what emigrants, two-thirds of them had not a they had received from their last, would single boy on board. He thought legisla- be forced to learn habits of economy, and tion on this matter had been somewhat to retain from each voyage at least as stealthy. In 1848, when the Navigation much as would fit them out for another. Laws were repealed, nothing was said He thought legislative interference was inabout doing away with the manning or the jurious as between the shipowner and the apprentice clauses-nay, the present First sailor, in the same way that it would be Lord of the Admiralty opposed the sug- considered injurious as between the master gestion when it was made, and yet last manufacturer and the mechanic and artiyear these very points were carried. What he would recommend was, hoped the Government would now take the that there should be a savings bank and a advice of the hon. Member for Liverpool money-order office in connection with every (Mr. Horsfall), and reinstate them, or at shipping office, so that the sailor, on being least the clause with regard to appren- paid off, might send home a portion of his tices. money to his wife and family at once, and place another in the savings bank, sufficient to provide him with the necessaries for his next voyage. With regard to what had been said by the hon. Member for Liverpool, as to the spirit of the law in reference to the limitation of the responsibility of the shipowners in the case of goods and merchandise, he saw no reason why that responsibility should not also be limited in the case of passengers. thought that in a country like this every facility should be afforded to capitalists to invest their money in ships; but as the law now stood, capitalists had reason to dread such investments, because the responsibility was not limited to the value of the ship and freight, but extended to every penny the owner possessed; so that the wealthiest capitalist who held but a small portion of a ship might at any moment find himself a ruined man. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not consent to re-enact the manning or the apprenticeship clauses; and, though the law in this respect might be left as it was, he could assure the hon. and gallant Member for Bath (Captain Scobell) that he need not be afraid that British sailors would ever be

MR. LINDSAY said, it was not his intention to offer any lengthened remarks upon this Bill, but, as a large shipowner himself, and as the representative of a large shipping port, he considered it his duty to oppose the suggestion that had been made with regard to the reinstatement of the apprentice clauses. The hon. Member for Liverpool said, that the reinstatement of these clauses was favourably looked on by his constituents. Now, the clauses might be viewed with favour by the Shipowners' Association, but that Association did not compose all the shipowners of Liverpool, and as soon as it was understood that the Shipowners' Association had petitioned in favour of the compulsory apprentice clauses, another memorial, most respectably signed, was sent off against the re-enactment of them. He should be very much surprised indeed if, to the grievances which the shipowners of this country already laboured under, this House were to add a new one. With regard to the subject of advance notes to seamen, he had had a long conversation on that question with the President of the Board of Trade that day, and that right Captain Scobell


ADMIRAL WALCOTT said, he considered the re-enactment of the apprenticeship clause essential, in order that a sufficient body of effective and competent seamen might always be found available for the maritime service of the country. He always looked upon the mercantile service as the nursery for the Royal Navy, and was anxious, therefore, that the efficiency of the marine, both in numbers and competency, should be maintained.

superseded by foreigners in our mercantile | into one, and in the name of his constinavy. For his own part, he had no dread tuents he begged to tender to the right of the competition of foreign seamen any hon. Gentleman his congratulations for the more than he had of foreign shipowners, service he had rendered to the mercantile but the best way to maintain the supre- community. He agreed with the hon. macy of the British mercantile marine, Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Lindsay) that and consequently of the Navy, was to re- it was of the utmost importance to encoumove all the restrictions which yet re- rage habits of economy and forethought mained, and to give free scope, as far as among the sailors, by putting down adpracticable, to its energies and skill, that vance notes, and establishing savings its resources might be fully developed. banks. With regard to the question of unlimited responsibility in case of accidents, he admitted that that was in itself a large question; but that with which the House had now to deal was a question of a much narrower kind, and he would be glad to see it brought to an issue as it stood. Until the passing of Lord Campbell's Act the law was clear that the responsibility of the shipowner was limited to the ship and cargo. It was generally admitted that Lord Campbell's Act was not intended to alter that law; but, by some accidental negligence of phrases, without discussion or deliberate intention of the Legislature, it was held to have altered the law. Now, assuming that statement to be true, was it not reasonable to think that, in consolidating these Acts, the Government should declare the intent of Lord Campbell's Act to be what it was from the first intended to be? It would then be left open to the Government, if they thought the law should be changed, to propose the change in such a way as would bring the whole subject under consideration, and have it thoroughly discussed.

MR. DIGBY SEYMOUR said, he fully concurred in what had been stated by the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Horsfall) as to Lord Campbell's Act. He thought that the courts of law, having strained this Act to a purpose for which it was never intended, had inflicted a severe blow on the shipping interests of this country, and placed shipowners in a very disadvantageous position as regarded their American competitors. He should be glad if the system of advance notes could be got rid of altogether. He thought it was a fallacy to legislate for ships as a particular property, differing from all others on account of their presumed connection with the Royal Navy, and that it was equally a fallacy to mix up the interests of the two services. Merchant-ships ought to be left to their own regulations, and not be subject to codes laid down by that House for their internal management and government. These, however, were questions which would arise in Committee. The principle of the Bill he understood to be the consolidation of our mercantile marine laws, but it appeared to him that the Bill was rather the re-enactment of the shipping laws that existed than a codification. At the same time, he rejoiced that the Bill had been laid upon the table; and, as the representative of a mercantile community, he begged to thank the right hon. Gentleman for it.

MR. DUNLOP said, whether this Bill was a complete code or not, it would certainly be of the greatest service as a consolidation of about fifty different Statutes VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]

MR. THOMPSON said, he cordially concurred in the second reading of the Bill, and begged to offer his congratulations to the right hon. Gentleman on the service that it would render to the shipping interests. There were many details, however, in the Bill, which he thought would require serious consideration in Committee, as they would not be likely to further the object the President of the Board of Trade had in view. A great deal had been said about apprentices; he differed from what the hon. and gallant Member for Bath had said on this subject, and trusted that Government would allow matters to take their course, and not attempt to legislate on it.

MR. SERJEANT SHEE said, he was ready to bestow his pity on those who might lose their fortunes by the injury done to shipping, but his pity was still more called forth on behalf of those who lost their lives. It was quite intolerable to


recommend that a schedule should be inserted laying down the mode to be followed, but that power should be given to the President of the Board of Trade to correct the schedules from time to time, as science might point out.

MR. G. BUTT said, he concurred with the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Shee) in thinking this Bill a very good consolidation of the law of shipping. He considered that it was a mistake to suppose that shipowners were exempt from liability for the negligence or incompetences of their servants either under Lord Campbell's Act or the general law, nor did he think that they had any right to claim exemption from that responsibility.

hear it contended in that House that shipowners should be exempted from the responsibility with regard to damage or injury, &c., which rested upon all the rest of their fellow-subjects. He thought this was a Bill for which the whole body of the mercantile marine should be thankful to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. As the law at present stood, it was hardly intelligible to lawyers. By spending an hour or two in his closet a lawyer might no doubt come to understand any point under dispute, and a shipowner might sometimes also be able to overcome the difficulty; but it was impossible for others to make out what the law at present was. He held, therefore, that this Consolidation Act would be of the greatest possible service. It had been said that it did not deserve the name of a code, but he maintained that it was more deserving of the name of a code than any that existed in any other country in the world, or that ever did exist. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the propriety of enacting that every ship of a certain bur-ceive the general concurrence of the House den should have the law on board for the use of the master, the officers, and the men, who might thereby be enabled to settle disputes when abroad. The hon. and learned Member for Sunderland (Mr. W. D. Seymour) took exceptions to the Bill, on account of the phraseology of the old laws not being preserved; but if the new phraseology was better than the old, he thought no great objection could be taken. He heartily thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the measure, and looked upon it as a great boon to the mercantile community.

MR. ALEXANDER HASTIE said, he must deny that the shipowners desired to get rid of any responsibility that ought in justice to attach to them, notwithstanding what had fallen from the hon. and learned Serjeant. They were quite ready to admit that their ship and freight should be liable for injury, done either to property or persons. It should be remembered that masters and mates were to be examined by a Government Board, and that the master, the officers, and the ships were to be under Government inspection; and on that, as cell as other accounts, the shipowners held that they ought not to be liable to a greater extent than the value of the ship and freight. He believed this was, on the whole, a very good Bill, though he thought some of the clauses might be left out with great advantage. As to measurement, he would Mr. Serjeant Shee

MR. CARDWELL said, he had listened with attention to many of the suggestions which had been made by Gentlemen well qualified to give opinions, and he was much gratified at the tone and spirit in which the Bill had been received, because it was one which, from its magnitude, ought to re

before it could be passed into a law. If he might take the liberty of specifying a particular opinion to which he attached value, he should say it was that of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, who was the editor of Lord Tenterden's great work on the law of shipping, and therefore there was no one who could be a better judge of the difficulties of making any alteration in the law. The Bill, he wished the House to bear in mind, was an endeavour to effect, not a codification, but a consolidation, of the Statutes, which was a different thing from codification-a system which had been adopted without any success in this country, although there had been many instances of consolidating into a single Act all the enactments of Parliament on the subject of a particular law. In this Bill there had been repealed forty Acts of Parliament on the subject of shipping, ranging from the time of Elizabeth, and some 1,000 clauses, in order to bring the law within legitimate and intelligible limits. Then, with regard to the language adopted, they had made choice of new language where it was necessary for greater perspicuity and clearness. When there was a choice between new and old language, they employed the old, because it had the stamp of judicial decisions, and the risk of future lawsuits was thereby greatly excluded. The hon. and learned Member for Sunderland (Mr. W. D. Seymour) had suggested that they

should leave out minute regulations, and only insert the general principles involved. That principle had been adopted where it was possible, but in the particular matter to which he had referred, the measurement of ships, it was found a matter of great difficulty. Now, it was not at all new for Parliament to endeavour to lay down the principle of getting the accurate measurement of a ship, but the difficulty was to say how they were to obtain that accurate measurement. He thought, therefore, it was a matter upon which the will of Parliament must be taken, and which must not be left entirely to the arbitrary decision of any individual. A great deal depended upon the mode of measurement. Toll was paid to every dock company in the kingdom, not according to the principle that you should have an accurate measurement of capacity, but according to the rule and mode by which you carried that measurement into effect. Now, the mode proposed in the Bill would leave the tonnage of the country at exactly the same quantity at which it now stood, doing, therefore, no injustice either as between shipowner or dockowner; but any alteration which did not comply with that principle would injure one or the other considerably. Speaking generally of the mode proposed by the Bill, of so taking an adequate number of measurements, and so applying a mathematical rule as to obtain, with a great approach to accuracy, the fair capacity of a ship, relieving the shipowner from those restrictions which now impeded the exercise of his skill and the improvement of models-this plan in the Bill had received the sanction of every authority to which it had been submitted, and of all those most competent to form opinions upon the subject. Besides the other objects contained in the measure, he proposed, if the plan of the Government relating to salvage received the assent of the House, to incorporate with the Bill the whole scheme with respect to wrecks and salvage, making the measure, therefore, one complete manual relating to the mercantile marine. The utmost pains had been taken in the consolidation of the Statutes, and he might state that he was indebted to the Judge of the Admiralty Court for the kindness with which he had, on two separate occasions, gone through the Bill, and given him the invaluable assistance of his great legal ability and knowledge. With regard to the objections which had been taken to the measure, the

hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Horsfall) objected to the proposal to transfer certain powers from the local marine board to the justices in regard to the trial of masters charged with incompetence or neglect. It appeared that on this particular point the shipowners of Liverpool did not agree with their representatives, for they stated, after considering the clause, that they thought the mode in which he proposed to leave it a great improvement and a relief to the local marine board. But it was not intended to relieve or to disparage the local marine board. What the Government proposed was, that in cases where masters were charged with neglect or incompetence there should be a judicial inquiry. After having awarded an officer a certificate for competency, the local marine board ought not, he thought, to be judges as to whether that officer had conducted himself in such a manner as that his certificate ought to be withdrawn. His certificate ought not to be withheld upon any other than a judicial investigation, and by the finding of a recognised public tribunal. The hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Lindsay) had alluded to the subject of savings banks and advance notes. No person could more regret than he (Mr. Cardwell) did the habits of improvidence into which seamen were but too frequently led, and in so far as the system of advance notes ministered to those habits they were no doubt to be regretted. He thought, however, they could not legislate upon the principle, that a sailor was to be treated like a child or a minor, as one who could not be intrusted with his own resources, and that he could not be placed under restrictions from which every landsman was free, in making his own contracts. Another subject alluded to by the hon. Member was that of savings banks, and the hon. Member would, no doubt, be glad to hear that he (Mr. Cardwell) had anticipated his proposition on this point, and that in the course of the last Session of Parliament, putting himself into communication with his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had introduced into the Savings Banks Bill a clause for the special object of giving to sailors in seaport towns facilities for making their investments and for obtaining the advantages of savings banks. Those advantages, in London and in Liverpool, were already made use of, and nothing could be more satisfactory than the way in which the Sailors' Homes in those two places conducted the operations of their savings

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