THE PASSENGERS ACT. 1842
The Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners Bill adopted by Lord Stanley, for the amendment and enlargement of the then existing Passengers Act was issued and published in The Australian on Monday 25 July 1842. The following is an abridgement of the Bill.
1. The first clause repeals former acts, 5 and 6 Will. IV., c. 53, and 3 and 4 Vic. c.21.
2. The number of passengers to be carried in each vessel is limited: vessels proceeding from the United Kingdom or the Channel Islands to any place out of Europe, not being within the Mediterranean Sea, shall carry no more than one. passenger for every two tons of the registered tonnage. In the lower deck or platform ten clear superficial feet are to be allowed for each passenger; or if the ships pass within the Tropics, the voyage not being computed at more than twelve weeks, twelve feet are to be allowed; at more than twelve weeks, fifteen feet. One passenger may be carried under the poop for every thirty passengers. The master incurs a penalty of £5 for every possenger in access of the proper number
3. Every ship must have a lower deck or platform above or level with the top of the lower beams, properly secured to them, and of an inch and a half in thickness.
4. There must be a height of at least six feet between the upper and lower decks.
5. There must be only two tiers of berths; the lower, six inches from the deck.
6. A supply of not less than three quarts of water must be issued to each passenger per day, and seven pounds of bread stuff per week; of the latter, one third may consist of potatoes, reckoned at the rate of five pounds for one of bread stuffs. No ship to be cleared out without having on board sufficient supplies of provisions and water.
7 Regulations for securing the supply of water and for its preservation on the voyage.
8. The length of voyages, is to be computed according to the following rule: to North America, ten weeks; West Indies, ten weeks; Central or South America, twelve weeks; West Coast of Africa, twelve weeks; Cape of Good Hope or the Falkland Islands, fifteen weeks; Mauritius, eighteen weeks; Western Australia, twenty weeks; other Australian Colonies, twenty two weeks; New Zealand, twenty four weeks.
9. Two children under fourteen years of age to be reckoned as one adult passenger.
10. The Emigration Agent at the port which the vessel leaves, or in the absence of such a functionary, the officers of the Customs, are to examine the provisions and water as to quantity and quality, and the allotment of space; and to ascertain that there is an ample supply of water and stores for the crew of the ship or other persons on board, over and above what Is provided for the passengers.
11. Provides for the rigid survey of the ship, as to its sea worthiness; and gives the Commissioner of Customs or the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners power to detain vessels until rendered seaworthy.
12. Every ship of 150 and under 250 tons must carry two boats; under 500 tons three boats; more than that, four boats.
13. Masters to carry two copies of the act, open to the perusal of passengers.
14. With every ship carrying one hundred passengers a medical practitioner is to sail; in every ship carrying a smaller number, medicines of sufficient amount and of proper kind to be carried
15. Spirits are not to be laden on board by way of stores, except for the master and crew and cabin passengers, or as medical comforts; but the sale of spirits to any passenger during the voyage is absolutely prohibited, under a penalty of not less than £50, nor more than £200.
16. The masters are to keep a list of passengers according to a given form, to be countersigned by the officers of Customs at the port of clearance, and deposited with the officers of Customs or Consul at the port of discharge.
17. A like list is to be kept of additional passengers who may be taken on board during the voyage.
18. Written receipts for passage money to any place in North America are to be given to steerage passengers, according to a given form, under a penalty of £2.
19. Passage brokers contracting for passages to North America are to be licensed by Justices in the Petit or Quarter Sessions of their district; and will incur a penalty of £10 for every passage contracted without a license.
20. All brokers who contract for a passage, without due authority from the parties to whom the vessel belongs, incur a penalty not exceeding £5; with the liability on the part of the licensed broker to have the license taken away.
21. If a contract for a passage is broken, the aggrieved parties, unless maintained at the expense of the con tractors, shall recover the amount of passage money with a sum not exceeding £5 for each passage, by way of compensation
22. In case vessels are detained beyond the appointed day of departure, lodgings and rations are to be provided for each passenger, or he is allowed one shilling a day as subsistence money.
23. At the close of the voyage persons are to be entitled to remain on board for forty eight hours after the arrival in port; and are to be provided for in the same manner as during the voyage; unless, in the ulterior prosecution of her voyage, any such ship shall quit any such port or place within the said period of forty eight hours.
24. The master of the vessel is to afford every facility to the proper officers for the inspection of the ship.
25. This clause enumerates many of the foregoing regulations to the breach of which special penalties have not been affixed, and enforces them under a penalty of not less than £5 nor more than £50.
26. The right is reserved to passengers to proceed at law for any breach of contract.
27. The mode of recovering penalties is directed.
28. Owners or charterers and masters of vessels carrying more than fifty passengers, are to enter into bond, without stamp, for the due performance of the regulations prescribed by the act.
29. Vessels not carrying more than twenty passengers, and ships in the service of the Admiralty or East India Company, ships of war, or transports, are exempted from the operation of the act.
30. The act is extended to the carriage of passengers by sea from any of the British West Indies (in which term, are included the British West India Islands, the Bahamas, and British Guiana,) from Malta, British possessions on the West coast of Africa, and from Mauritius, to any other place whatsoever.
31. Governors of colonies not already enumerated may adopt this act by proclamation.
32. Those Governors are empowered to declare the computed length of voyages from their own colony to any other place for the purposes of the act; but short voyages of less than three weeks are reserved for particular enactment below.
33. The Governor may substitute different articles of provisions from those specified in the act.
34. The proclamation is to be transmitted to the Queen in Council for confirmation or disallowance; but until disallowed, it is to be in force.
35. Governors are to possess the powers vested in Customs-officers for determining the sea worthiness of vessels.
36. Bonds are not required in respect of voyages from colonies.
37. And such voyages are exempted from the regulations as to the keeping: copies of the act, the form of receipts for passage-money , the licensing of passage-brokers, the return of passage-money and compensation, and the payment of subsistence money.
38. With those exceptions, the act is extended to voyages from the West Indies of less than three weeks but, not less than three days duration, except as relates to the construction or thickness of the lower deck, the height between decks,the surgeon and medicine chests, and the maintenance of passengers for forty eight hours. In such short voyages from the West Indies the owner or charterer may contract with passengers to provide themselves with food, not including water; but nevertheless the proper officer must ascertain that the passengers have provided an adequate quantity of food.
39. Governors of colonies other than West Indies may adopt these regulations respecting short voyages.
40. This act is not to prevent local legislatures in the West Indies, the Bahama Islands, and Bermuda, or the Queen in Council, from establishing necessary rules and regulations, unless counter to the provisions of the act.
41. The Governor-General of India is empowered to extend the act from time to time to any ports or places within his jurisdiction.
42. Foreign vessels engaged in any voyages specified in the act are to be subject to its provisions.
43. The term "passengers" in the act is not held to include cabin passengers.
44. In all proceedings it shall be sufficient to cite the act by the title of "The Passengers Act."
NOTE:This act remained in force until October 1849 when because of so called "Ocean Hells and Death Ships" the new Consolidated Passenger Act was brought in. This Act covered both British and foreign vessels and empowered Colonial Governors effectually to interfere on behalf of the passenger, so as to secure for him a clearly defined modicum of sustenance and comfort during the voyage. I shall deliver a copy of this New Consolidated Passenger Act on a future journal.
Electronically translated text taken from The Australian newspaper issued on Wednesday 25 July 1842. Transcribed and corrected on the 8 January 2012 by janilye