21 JULY 1866, Page 2

Mr. Graves on Tuesday proposed that a Royal Commission should

be appointed to inquire into the deficiency of British sea- men in the mercantile marine, and stated some noteworthy facts. Our tonnage, he said, had increased between 1850 and 1865 by 78 per cent., and the number of men by only 30, and no Item than 20,000 foreigners are employed in British ships. He wanted to restore the ss-stem of long apprenticeships. It seemed to be generally admitted in the debate that a deterioration had taken place in the quality of our merchant seamen, but Sir S. Northcote obviously hit the nail on the head when he said that the remedy was to pay the men better. The best lads would not go to sea to lead a life of terrible hardship and earn only 351. a year, with no hope of rising in the world. Something might be done with a better code of discipline, which would prevent the cruelties so frequent on board ship; but the matter rests with the shipowners, and while they can get men for little they will not pay them much.