Imatges de pÓgina

the mischief which had followed from setting free British shipping from every possible limitation and restriction. This return came down to the 31st of March last. The House would be aware that the last returns presented showed the very

banks. He now approached the subject | time to endeavour to prevent the employof the liability of the shipowner. Before ment of foreign sailors in the merchant committing itself upon this subject, the service. But he held in his hand a return House should clearly understand what the supplied by the Registrar of Shipping, law now was, and what was really the pro- which showed the result of the mischief to position intended when they were asked to which his hon. and gallant Friend referred create this limitation. The shipowner was under no legal liability, arising from what was commonly called Lord Campbell's Act, to which every other subject of the Queen was not equally liable. The difference between the two classes of persons was, that the shipowner was accustomed to be in-largest number of British seamen ever trusted at one time with the charge of a very large number of lives under circumstances of hazard. The law had made no distinction between him and other persons, and with the exception of that important practical difference, no distinction existed. If an accident happened at sea through the neglect of his master, the shipowner might be liable, no doubt, to the whole extent of his fortune, just as a man was liable on shore if any accident happened through the carelessness of his servant while driving a vehicle. The subject was certainly a very important one for consideration, and he was not surprised that the hon. Member for Liverpool should have taken the opportunity of calling attention to the subject. With regard to the question of apprentices and seamen, the hon. Gentleman proposed in Committee to submit a clause, which had received the sanction of the shipowners of Liverpool, for making it compulsory upon shipowners to take a certain number of apprentices in proportion to the tonnage of the ship. That subject had been very fully discussed in the last Session of Parliament, and the House had then been of opinion that it was not desirable to have that restriction, nor did he think the House would be of a different opinion now. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bath (Captain Scobell), had expressed his belief, that the provision for allowing our merchant ships to be manned by foreign seamen had been productive of much mischief. The hon. and gallant Member said "Only think of the circumstances in which we are placed, and the difficulty of manning our fleet with British and he complained-for this was what his complaint amounted to-that they had succeeded in manning the fleet without having recourse to impressment and without having even given a bounty. Now he (Mr. Cardwell) thought that, when we were wanting British seamen to enlist into our Navy, it was the worst possible Mr. Cardwell

employed in the history of this country, and that it was in the last Session of Parliament that they removed all restrictions from the employment of foreigners. Well, the whole number of foreigners employed in British foreign-going shipping in the last quarter had been no more than 2,499 men. If this were multiplied by 4, it would give something less than 10,000 men; and if they looked at the returns already upon the table, they would find the whole aggregate of British seamen, was, in the last year 190,000 men. Having abolished the restriction to which our shipowners were subjected, they found foreigners employed to the extent of only 10,000 men in the year, while 190,000 British seamen were in the service. This was the mischief which induced the hon. and gallant Member for Bath so seriously to exhort them to retrace their steps, an exhortation which they certainly were not prepared to comply with. The hon. and gallant Member had quoted returns to show that the number of apprentices had fallen off; the number of apprentices would very naturally fall off, when the shipowners were relieved from the necessity of taking apprentices, whether they would or not; but the returns by no means showed that the number of boys applying themselves to the sea service had fallen off; on the contrary, the number of boys in the commercial marine rising to be seamen was on the increase, though, now that the former restrictions upon the shipowners with regard to apprentices had been removed, these boys were no longer called apprentices. He had been in communication with the shipowners of London, Liverpool, Lloyd's, and with the principal persons interested in the Bill; and he had the satisfaction of knowing that the Bill had their general concurrence, and that they regarded the consolidation of the law into one Statute, as now proposed, as certain greatly to facilitate the operations of their trade.

That being so, he hoped the House would | facing it by the remarks which he had allow the Bill to pass this Session.

Bill read 2°.

MANNING THE NAVY BILL. Order for Third Reading read. MR. FRENCH said, he thought it due to the House and to the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty, that he should mention that he was fully borne out in stating, that the reply which the right hon. Baronet made to his statements in the early part of the evening was incorrect. In using that term he had not the slightest intention to say anything that could be considered offensive, but he spoke on the authority of men who knew what they said, and who were as good vouchers for the truth of their statements as the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Baronet stated that the Great Britain was not offered twice to the Government, but only once, and that the price was so exorbitant that it could not be accepted, that she would carry no more than 150 horses, and that she was incapable of performing the voyage within the time. Now, in a letter which Messrs. Gibbs and Bright had sent to the Morning Herald on the 5th of April, they distinctly asserted that they had offered the ship twice to Her Majesty's Government. As to the capabilities of the vessel for carrying cavalry regiments, and its means of affording them every accommodation, although there was considerable difficulty in fully explaining this subject, yet he had no doubt that the steamer was perfectly capable of carrying and affording accommodation to such troops, and this opinion of his was further confirmed by a letter which he held in his hand, and which fully bore him out in his opinion that the vessel would be now ready to go to sea in June, and that, if Messrs. Gibbs and Bright's offer had been accepted at the time it was made, three cavalry regiments might now have been, through its means, already at the seat of the war. The right hon. Baronet had said that the vessel would not answer the purposes of the Government, but he thought in this, as in many other things, the right hon. Baronet spoke inconsiderately, and without fully understanding the subject he was speaking on. He could tell the right hon. Baronet that the Himalaya went to Malta in eight days, and he considered the Great Britain capable of doing the same. The right hon. Baronet had reproved him for putting the question which he had done, and pre

thought it his duty to make, but he begged distinctly to tell the right hon. Baronet that he did not look to him for an opinion as to what he ought to say or do, and that as he repudiated ever being a follower of the right hon. Baronet, so he would not permit the right hon. Baronet to dictate to him in the assumptive manner which he had thought proper to do. He (Mr. French) had said before, and he repeated it then, that he believed the massacre at Sinope would never have taken place unless it had been for the orders from the Admiralty; that after such massacre the Russian fleet could have been taken if the orders from the Admiralty had permitted it; that our fleet, if it had not been for the conduct of the Admiralty at home, could have prevented the gathering of the troops from Circassia, as they might also, had it not been for the inefficiency or inactivity of the Admiralty, have prevented the closing up the mouths of the Danube. He wished to know, with reference to Odessa, why, when the Admirals had demanded that the ships from the inner harbour should be delivered up to them, that the fleet was afterwards desired to leave without such demand being complied with? He must complain, also, that the right hon. Baronet, in his answer to him relative to his question about Odessa, had stated, in a kind of off-hand way, that, upon leaving that port, the ships had sailed to Sebastopol, implying thereby they were going to bombard it, when he knew very well that such were not their orders. He believed that the result of the war, if it were left in the feeble hands that it was at present, would be that next year we might find 200,000 French, 200,000 Austrians, and 200,000 Russians hovering about Turkey, and that then we should not only find it impossible, with our small force of 40,000 men, to assist our allies the Turks, but probably difficult to defend ourselves. He did not consider the right hon. Baronet entitled to address him as he had, and he begged to repudiate his assuming any such privilege as he seemed on this occasion desirous of claiming.

SIR JAMES GRAHAM said, he thought the House would agree with him that this was not a fit occasion for entering into a protracted discussion of the disasters which the hon. Gentleman had indulged himself in prophesying for this war, nor was he prepared that evening to defend the conduct of the war, to reopen the ques

her accommodation was not such as met the views of the Admiralty. With respect to her speed-and he had no wish to depreciate a vessel which the Government would neither buy nor hire-he did not believe that she could go from any port in England to Constantinople in a fortnight; it had not been achieved by any vessel yet, and he did not believe the Great Britain would be the first to do it. He was always delighted to answer any questions which were put to him, with a desire to obtain information, not intended to convey blame, and if the hon. Gentleman would always put his questions in that spirit, and reserve his censure for his Motions, no doubt they would always continue good friends. He was sorry that anything should have fallen from him to annoy the hon. Gentleman; but it certainly had appeared to him that the mode in which the question was put was not consistent with the rules of the House. He had mentioned more than once that, though he presided over the Board of Admiralty, these matters were mainly under the guidance of a gallant Officer who was not a Member of that House-Captain Milne. A more meritorious officer did not exist, or one who had laboured for the public service more faithfully or more efficiently, and it was very much on his account that he had been desirous of having this matter most fully explained.

tion of Sinope, or to discuss the bombardment of Odessa, or any expedition, past or future, on the coast of Circassia. If the hon. Gentleman was desirous of taking the opinion of the House on those subjects, let him give proper notice of Motion, and he (Sir J. Graham) should be ready then to take the field against him; but this was certainly not the proper opportunity. The hon. Gentleman had, in somewhat an adroit manner, tried to make him the assailant. Now, his complaint in the earlier part of the evening had been of what appeared to him a great violation of the forms and orders of the House on the part of the hon. Gentleman, who had put a question not so much, as it seemed to him, with a view of obtaining any information to gratify his innocent simplicity or ignorance with respect to the matter, but rather with a desire of conveying censure "willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike." That was a course which appeared to him neither consistent with the rules of that House nor exactly consistent with fair play; and therefore he had met it in the manner of which the hon. Member complained. With respect to the facts of the case, he could only repeat that there had been one formal offer made of the Great Britain to the Board of Admiralty. That offer he held in his hand, and all the papers connected with it. Among the tenders sent in to the Board of Admiralty, there was one made on the part of the MR. FRENCH: If the right hon. Baowners of the Great Britain, in the monthronet's first answer had been in this tone, of February, he believed, at the rate of he would have heard no more of it. 31. per ton per month, which was a higher Bill read 3o, and passed. sum than had been paid in other cases, and that offer the Board of Admiralty thought fit to reject. Since that time, he believed, there had been no other offer made by the owners of the Great Britain for hire by the month, but there had been an offer a public offer-made to sell her for a sum which the Admiralty thought was still more exorbitant than that demanded for the hire of her. That offer also had been rejected. With respect to her capacities the Government officer at Liverpool had been directed to survey her, to ascertain whether she was competent to convey a regiment of cavalry, with 340 horses. The report was that she was capable of carrying 180 horses on the lower deck, and twenty on the upper deck. That accommodation the Admiralty objected to. The result, then, was that she was unable to carry a regiment of cavalry, and that even to the extent of 180 horses Sir J. Graham


MR. DUNLOP said, he begged to move for leave to introduce a Bill "To render Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Scotland more available for the benefit of Juvenile Delinquents and Vagrant Children." It was not intended by this measure to go so far as the Lord Advocate's recent Education Bill, or to propose any rating for the support of schools. He wished to give power to magistrates where delinquents were brought before them, to send them to school instead of to gaol, thus removing them from the evils of depraved associates to a place where they would receive a good training, acquire habits of industry, and have some prospects of bettering their condition, instead of, as at present, being certain to come out of gaol ten times worse than when

they went in. With respect to delinquents may lose. I am sure your Lordships will who had been convicted, it was intended not suppose that I am throwing any blame by this measure to place them in certain on the Government for any recommendaschools sanctioned by the Lord Advocate, tions which they may have given to our and to charge the expenditure on county officers to carry on the war in the most and parochial boards. humane manner possible; at the same time, it is clear that the carrying on the war with such measures of humanity as that to which I have just alluded may be extending the maxims founded on civilisa tion and Christianity too far, and may even be the cause of the contest being eventually prolonged.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Dunlop, Mr. Kinnaird, and Mr. Adderley. Bill read 1°.

The House adjourned at half after Eleven o'clock.

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THE EARL OF MALMESBURY: I beg to ask the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Newcastle) a question with reference to a report which has caused great anxiety to many people within the last day or two, and which has not been contradicted. The report is, that Her Majesty's ship the Tiger has been lost on the coast of the Black Sea, and that her crew have been made prisoners by the Russians. I wish to ask the noble Duke if he has any reason to believe the report true, and if he has received any information on the matter? I wish also to ask whether a statement which I have seen in the Moniteur is true, and which has reference to a certain number of Russian prisoners taken on board merchant ships in the Black Sea. According to the despatch of the French Admiral to his Government, it appears he took those men to Odessa, and made some offer to the commander of that place to exchange them for French and English subjects, but that no agreement was come


I understand that no answer was given by the Russian commander, and that the English Admiral had thought fit to set those prisoners free. We cannot expect to be always successful, and we may expect to sustain losses such as those alluded to in those reports during the course of the war-we may lose ships by accident, and their crews may be made prisoners. It is evident, therefore, that if we do not retain a sufficient number of the prisoners taken from the enemy, we shall have none to exchange against those we

THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE: I wish it were in my power to relieve your Lordships from any apprehensions you may entertain with respect to the supposed loss of the Tiger steam vessel. I am not, however, able so to relieve you. At the same time I am equally unable to confirm the report. So far as any opinion that I can form goes, I should rather hope that the report is not true. The only information which has been received, either by the Government or by anybody else, so far as we can ascertain, was by a telegraphic message which was received yesterday by a mercantile house in the City, and the contents of which subsequently appeared in the newspapers. One amongst other reasons for hoping that the report is incorrect is, that the steamer which was lost is represented as being a screwsteamer, while the Tiger is a paddle-wheel vessel. This obvious inaccuracy might lead one to hope that this report is as untrue as that which was received some little time since with respect to the loss of the Amphion, which was quite as circumstantial in its details as the present story. Taking both these facts together, I have great hopes that this report of the loss of the Tiger may prove to be but a Russian fabrication. As regards the second question, with reference to the prisoners taken by the Black Sea fleet, I have not seen the statement in the Moniteur; but, certainly, if the noble Earl has quoted it correctly, that newspaper has not on this occasion given so accurate a report of the transaction in question as it is in the habit of doing with regard to all matters connected with the carrying on this war. The real circumstances are these-our cruisers had taken some forty or fifty prisoners, mostly men from Russian coasting vessels, and having nothing whatever to do with the men-of-war. Admiral Dundas having reason to suppose that some English sailors of the same class were de

tained prisoners at Odessa, wrote to Baron from one of the many Members of your Osten-Sacken to propose an exchange of Lordships' House who, though competent prisoners. The Baron, so far from mak- to give you the most valuable advice, are ing no reply, wrote a very courteous reply nevertheless restrained by their habits or on the same day, stating that he had no by their modesty from addressing your instructions with respect to an exchange Lordships, I should not have made any of prisoners, and therefore he was not observations whatever upon his remarks, able to carry out the proposal of Admiral because he would have added example to Dundas, but that he would write forthwith advice. But when I consider that the for instructions to Prince Paskiewitsch, noble Earl has made not only this war, but who would be empowered to give them. all wars, the peculiar subject of his eloNo answer has yet been received from the quent addresses; when he takes upon himPrince, and I have no reason to suppose self in this House not only the duties of that Admiral Dundas has released his pri- an illustrious general but of a great admisoners without exchange. But be that as ral; when he never loses an opportunity, it may, definite instructions have now on any question, of advising the noble been sent to Admiral Dundas with respect Duke opposite, who is peculiarly responto any prisoners that may henceforward sible for the management of the war, upon be taken by our vessels of war. what he should do, or of criticising what he has done; when, beyond that, the noble Earl does not confine himself to events which have passed, and about which the Government have no objection to give explanations; but when his advice and his questions have more than once-nay, very often-tended to extract from the caution

THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH: My Lords, we are at the commencement of what, I fear, will be a very long war; and however nervously anxious we may be at home with respect to the events which are from day to day recorded in the newspapers, I do not think it expedient that we should carry our nervousness into this House; and it is a subject of regret to me that the noble Earl thought it necessary to put the question that he has done to the noble Duke opposite with respect to the reported loss of a single ship. We must expect that accidents will occur in the course of the war. War has its chances, and both sides must abide them. With regard to what is stated with respect to the loss of this ship, even if what is reported is true-and certainly nothing that we have heard with respect to Russian public documents is of a character to impress us with the conviction that all their contents are true-I am satisfied that we do not know the whole truth. If it be the fact that two steamers came up after the alleged loss of the Tiger and fired, it is my impression that they retook the steamer which was aground, and were endeavouring to bring her off.

THE EARL OF MALMESBURY: This is the second time the noble Earl has favoured me with a lesson on my duty as a Member of your Lordships' House. On this point I must throw myself on the good feeling, the good taste, and the indulgence which your Lordships have always shown towards all whose motives in trespassing on your time were as well known as are those which actuate me on the present occasion. If the lesson with which the noble Lord has favoured me, had come The Duke of Newcastle

the necessary caution-of the Government, replies which would be dangerous to the public service-I think he is quite the last man who should venture, notwithstanding his high reputation for ability, and his great experience in war, to give a lesson to another Peer, who merely asked the noble Duke opposite-for the sake of the relations of those persons who may be on board the ship, and for the sake of the public generally, who are very anxious on the subject-whether the reported loss of the Tiger was a fact. When the whole of this country is agitated by the report in question, and when it was perfectly possible-as I wish it had been the casethat the noble Duke and the Government might have received intelligence which would have at once assuaged alarm, I think I cannot fairly be accused of any indiscretion or bad taste for asking the noble Duke as to the simple fact of whether Her Majesty had had the misfortune to lose a ship, and whether many families might perchance have to deplore the loss of some of their Members.

THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH: If I gave the noble Earl a lesson it was a very short one, while the lesson he has given me is by far the longest I ever had in my life. But notwithstanding the extraordinary length of that lesson, I shall continue to do what I have always done inthis House, especially from the commence

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