No. 117
25th August 1870
My Lord,
I have had the honor to receive Your Lordship's Circular Despatch of the 27th June conveying the suggestion of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that measures should be taken for checking desertions from the Royal Navy, as well by the adoptionofManuscript image of the means resorted to in New Zealand, therein mentioned, as by putting in force the statutory penalty for the offence of procuring or assisting Desertions under Section 25 of the Act 29 and 30 Vic. C. 109.
2. On reference to the Attorney General upon this subject, I find that convictions for inducing Seamen to desert from Her Majesty's Navy, have been had here under 37 Geo III Chap. 70. sec. 1 which makes the offence a felony and punishable with Penal servitude for life or imprisonment for not morethanManuscript image than three years with or without hard labor; and it is presumed that this Statute will still be held to be in force here.
3. The Statute 29 & 30 Vic Chap. 109, Secs. 25 & 26 referred to in Your Lordship's Despatch provides for a summary conviction, with a fine not exceeding £30 and £20, respectively, but this has been found so utterly indequate for the purpose intended, that all cases of assisting or persuading seamen in Her Majesty's Navy to desert are now sent up to the Assizes for trial under the before mentioned Statute of37 GeoManuscript image 37 Geo. III. Chap. 70.
4. It is believed that the Senior Naval Officer on this Station gives rewards for the apprehension of Deserters, and I apprehend that if the local Government were to do so instead of the Naval authorities convictions would not be any more frequent than they are now.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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Naval Deserters.
RSM 4/10/70
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Sir F. Rogers
See Circular annexed.
The Statute recommended for adoption has been tried in BC and found utterly inadequate to prevent Desertions from the Royal Navy. The Law in force in the Colony is much more severe & makes the offence of inducing Seamen to desert a felony punishable with penal Servitude for life or imprisonment for not more than 3 years.
State to the Admy how the Matter stands adding that as in the case of Prince Edwards Is Ld Kimberley, if their Ldships concur, proposes to inform the Govr of B.C. that the provisions of the old act are sufficient.
WR 5/10/70
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I wd first send copy to Admy.
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Send in L[ithographed] F[orm] for conson & with reference to Admy letter.
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Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed circular as per despatch, No. 2, 27 June 1870.