The Marquess of Londonderry
regretted to be obliged, at so late a period of the Session, and when there was so much public business before the House, to detain their Lordships by offering a few observations against the passing of this Bill. The noble Marquess read extracts from the evidence that had been taken before the Committee, which, he said, distinctly showed that Bridlington Harbour could not be made a harbour of refuge, for it could only be entered at certain periods. That being the case, he hoped their Lordships would reject the Bill. He considered it very unfair, that the owners of coal vessels should be called upon to pay a passing toll, while vessels laden with stone and other materials were to be admitted free.
§ The Earl of Harewood
observed, that Bridlington Harbour had been used as a harbour of refuge since the time of James 2nd. It was certainly not a complete harbour of refuge at all times, but it was nevertheless very well adapted for a numerous class of vessels that traversed that coast, and made use of it as a place of refuge in stormy weather.
§ Lord Wharncliffe
objected to the principle of the Bill, convinced as he was that the harbour could never be made a harbour of refuge, and would therefore oppose it.
The Earl of Minto
thought it would be well to allow the Bill to stand over until next Session, when it might be freed from the objections to which it was justly liable in its present form.
§ Earl Manvers
would have preferred the Bill had it come from the other House containing a provision for imposing a passing toll on all vessels entering the harbour, instead of coal vessels exclusively. Although he was ready to admit that the harbour was not a good one, he thought it better to have it than none at all.
§ The Earl of Durham
opposed the Bill, which was an old acquaintance of his, as by his humble efforts it had failed on its first introduction to the House of Commons. He held in his hand a petition signed by eighty owners and masters of vessels trading between London and the ports of Newcastle, Sunderland, Stockton, and Hartlepool, who repudiated the notion of being able to enter that harbour in safety. Masters of colliers who had the slightest regard for their vessels would not think of attempting it. In fact, a camel passing through the eye of a needle, was but a farce to it. At the entrance, it was but 120 feet wide, which the Bill proposed to increase to 150 feet; it was frequently dry, and at the most advantageous periods contained but fourteen feet of water, while colliers, generally speaking, drew fifteen feet. Conceiving the principles of the measure to be utterly at variance with those which ought to govern the laws of navigation in England, he felt it his duty to oppose it.
§ Lord Colchester
being of opinion, that it was a beneficial measure, would give his consent to the third reading. The harbour was, no doubt, incomplete, but it formed an excellent place of security for light colliers under circumstances of peril,
thought it to be the duty of such of their Lordships as had served in her Majesty's navy to attend Committees on subjects of this kind. He had done so, and had come from the Committee which had been appointed on this question more impressed with the value of the proposed measure than he had been on entering it. The harbour was but of an indifferent kind, but it was better to have it than be without any at all.
§ Their Lordships divided:— Contents 45; Not-contents 35: Majority 10.