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was bound to ask the public to of proving that the present syssuspend their judgment. tem was the cause of the alleged
Sir J. Pakington, after making evils. The inquiry would show some personal explanations as to whether they arose from the want his own conduct, said he concur- of power in the department, or red in the motion, observing that of concert in the different parts the position of the First Lord of of the system, or from faults in the Admiralty made an inquiry the constitution of the Board of desirable, that position being one Admiralty. If this should be the which might be difficult and result, it would be for the Governpainful in case of a serious dif- ment to propose a remedy. ference of opinion between him- Sir Charles Wood expressed his self and the rest of the Board. belief that the Committee would He hoped the Government would not find that any great change be careful in the constitution of was required in the constitution the Committee, that it should be of the Board of Admiralty. composed of gentlemen desirous Mr. Disraeli was glad that this to conduct the inquiry in the Committee was to be appointed, most dispassionate manner. but he did not apprehend that
Sir F. Baring explained the the result would be any great system under which the business alteration in the Board of Admi. was conducted at the Board of ralty. He should be sorry if Admiralty, the first Lord having they recommended that the head the general direction, the respon- of the Board should be a naval sibility resting with him. Faults, officer; the next step would be he observed, were imputed to to take the chief of that great the Board of Admiralty in mat- department out of the House. ters with which they had nothing After a few more observations to do. He admitted that the from various members, the motion Government were quite right in was adopted. granting the Committee; but he Another motion proposed about did not consider some of the the same time by Sir James Elproposed changes in the system phinstone, was for the appointof administration to be iinprove- ment of a Select Committee to ments. He agreed that it was consider the present system of of the greatest importance to promotion and retirement in the ensure responsibility; the House, Royal Navy, and the present pay however, must not be deceived and position of the several by words; a Minister must not classes of naval officers, and to rebe made the nominal head of a port what changes therein would department, yet practically with be desirable, with a view to the out control over the permanent increased efficiency of the naval officers belonging to it.
service. There was no class of Mr. Henley quite agreed that officers in the Royal Navy, he what was wanted was the system observed, who had not just and which gave most responsibility serious grounds of complaint ; and real efficiency. The state- and he ran over the principal ments brought forward against grievances, to show, he said, that, the Admiralty all stopped short he did not move for a Committee
for insufficient reasons. He first and this subject might be brought detailed individual grievances, before the Committee already affecting particular classes, and appointed; the other related to then specified general complaints pay, and he warned the House applying to the whole.
that, if this motion were agreed Mr. Cochrane seconded the to, the Committee would report motion.
in favour of a general increase Sir H. Stracey expressed his of pay throughout the Navy. belief that great discontent ex- He entreated the House not to isted in the Navy, arising from assent to the motion. causes connected with pay, pro- Lord Palmerston said he motion and retirement, which should not be going too far if he explained, referring to special he asserted that all the services cases of hardship, and he sug- in the country were underpaid ; gested means of removing the but he warned the House that, discontent.
by consenting to the inquiry, Sir F. Baring defended the they would be led much further arrangements made by himself, than they expected. when he presided at the Admi- Upon a division, the motion ralty.
was carried against the GovernAdmiral Sir Michael Seymour ment by 102 to 97. supported the motion. He stated An important debate took place that for some reason or other with reference to the controverted there was not that degree of zeal question of iron or wooden existing in the service which for. vessels of war, upon a motion merly actuated naval officers. made by Mr. Lindsay in the
Sir John Pakington said the House of Commons on the 11th motion was very much the same of April. The hon. member as one he had made last year, moved resolutions to the effect and there were additional reasons that it was expedient to defer any for inquiry now. It was a great further expenditure on the connational evil that British officers struction or conversion of wooden should have just causes for dis- line-of-battle ships; or to incur, satisfaction.
during the present year, the exAdmiral Walcot also supported penditure requisite for the comthe motion.
pletion of the line-of-battle ships Lord C. Paget admitted that now on the stocks, or to comthe pay of the officers of the mence the construction of any navy was inadequate, but the wooden vessels which carried guns means at the disposal of the on more than one deck; and that Admiralty were limited; and he it was inexpedient, without further complained of Sir J. Pakington, experience, to sanction the exwho had been at the head of the penditure of any money for the Admiralty, and had enjoyed an purpose of adapting Her Maopportunity of giving effect to jesty's dockyards for the conhis opinions, coming down to struction of iron vessels. In his the House, and fomenting dis- argument in support of these recontent in the Navy. The motion, solutions, based upon details, he he said, had two distinct bear- stated that we had 22 wooden ings--one regarded promotion, line-of-battle ships more than all the world, France included, and France. He also suggested that nine frigates more than France, the hulls of ships should be ours being vastly superior to the built in private yards in the French ; that with regard to iron Thames, the Mersey and the ships France had only one ready Clyde, and that the Royal dock(La Gloire), two nearly ready, and yards should be used merely for three building, six in all; while repairs. we had seven building, and the Lord C. Paget said he should two launched were equal to four confine himself to showing to La Gloires, our vessels being of the House the inexpediency of much larger tonnage than those acceding to these abstract resoof France. He compared the lutions. The Admiralty, he said, expenditure of the two countries thought it highly unadvisable to upon their navies, showing that give up altogether the building ours was last year double that of of wooden ships, and he did not France, or as 10,000,0001. to think that any practical naval 5,000,0001., while this year the man, with our present experience Navy Estimates amounted to of iron vessels, would recommend 12,029,0001. He pointed out the it. There was no intention to reductions, immediate and con- adapt the dockyards to the buildsequential, that might be made ing of iron ships, which were in the Estimates by the adoption susceptible of improvements, iron of his resolutions, without any vessels being at present liable to diminution of the votes for the foul. After expressing a hope construction of iron ships. In that the House would not agree discussing the last resolution, he to the resolutions, he reviewed adverted to the Report of the some of the details given by Mr. Royal Commissioners appointed Lindsay, the accuracy of which to inquire into the management he disputed. His statement as of the dockyards, who were of to the backward condition of the opinion that iron ship-building French iron vessels in building he should not be carried on in the declared to be totally erroneous ; Royal dockyards under the ex. all of them, he said, might be isting sytem of accounts. He got ready during the present insisted upon the defective state summer. The nations of the of the accounts and upon the Continent were making great enormous excess of cost in the preparations, and it was necesconstruction of these vessels, and sary for the safety and honour of called upon the House to stop this country to be alert. With any further outlay till a better respect to the system of accounts system of accounts was intro- in the dockyards, the Admiralty, duced, and they could be con- he said, had taken steps to structed in the Royal yards, rectify the errors before the Com. quality considered, at a lower missioners had reported, and he price.
gave explanations in relation to The motion was seconded by the apparent excess of cost of Sir M. Peto, who strongly urged shipbuilding in the Royal yards. the policy of abandoning the Mr. Bentinck said he could construction of wooden ships, not rely upon the details given which had been abandoned by by Mr. Lindsay, and dissented from his conclusions. The naval (Sir John) had not understood requirements of England in time clearly from Lord Clarence the of peace were tenfold greater intentions of the Admiralty as to than those of all other countries wooden line-of-battle ships. He put together, and in the present had stated that we had 67 of condition of Europe they were these ships; but this number larger still. The augmentation must include those on the stocks, of our navy was under compul- there being only about 53 afloat. sion of the increasing armament Although he concurred in some of France. In his opinion, Mr. portion of the resolutions, they Lindsay had adopted a mistaken might be open to misconstruccourse in proposing his reso- tion, and he should be sorry to lutions.
take the matter out of the hands The Earl of Gifford expressed of the Executive Government. a qualified concurrence in the He gave various explanations resolutions.
regarding the Warrior, showMr. Corry said he could not con- ing the infancy of our knowcur in Mr. Lindsay's opinion that ledge on the subject of iron it was impossible for any money ships, confessing that he saw no to be laid out on the navy in prospect of being able to abandon France which had not been voted the construction of wooden vesfor that express purpose; for sels. two years ago he had been a Mr. Finlay thought that furmember of a Committee, that had ther experience was required occasion to enter into an inves- before the safety of the country tigation of French accounts, and was entrusted to iron ships. they found that, from the year After some further discussion 1852 to 1856 inclusive, the Mr. Lindsay consented to withFrench Naval Estimates were draw his resolutions. only 19,807,0001., whereas the At a later period of the session, expenditure was 31,691,6211. some interesting debates took
Sir Joseph Paxton and Mr. place in the House of Commons, Dalglish spoke decidedly in fa- with reference to the new iron vour of iron ships.
of Captain Jervis and Mr. Whit- construction. On the 31st of bread opposed the resolutions. May, Sir John Pakington called
Mr. Horsman defended the attention to the comparative proAdmiralty, and maintained that if gress of England and France in Lord C. Paget had not done the building of armour-covered more it was only because he had ships. The right honourable not the power.
baronet laid before the House Mr. W. Williams urged a re- some information he had received duction of expenditure.
from Admiral Elliot, the result Sir J. Pakington, with refer- of his own recent personal obserence to a remark of Mr. Hors- tion, as to the number of French man, said that the Report of the armour-covered ships afloat or in Royal Commissioners did not various states of preparation. He support the statements made by read a list of some of these vesLord C. Paget in 1859, which sels, and described their great had proved to be erroneous. He size, strength, and armament, the
aggregate number of these power- Lord C. Paget said it was true ful vessels being 24, exclusive of that the French were making the old batteries. He was not great progress in the building of aware, he said, that we had more iron-cased ships, and that within than six of these vessels. Ad- the last two months they had laid miral Elliot had likewise assured down several new
But him that in every one of the they were not making any undue French yards he had visited, the exertions, though constantly emutmost efforts were making to ployed upon this new class of press these preparations forward. vessels. The French vessels, Whatever might be the motives however, were not of the same of France, let us, he said, look size or power as ours. Although at the practical result, that we he thought it better not to enter were becoming the second mari. much into details upon this time Power of Europe. He asked subject, he might say that the what were the intentions of Her Government contemplated buildMajesty's Government upon the ing five iron-cased ships of a subject.
very powerful class. Mr. Lindsay thought that Sir The discussion then termi. J. Pakington would have done nated. It was resumed, however, better by communicating his in- a few days later, when Lord C. formation privately to the Govern- Paget definitely stated the intenment. The statement he had tions of the Government with made would do no good, but was respect to iron-cased ships. He likely to do great injury. He (Mr. said they had determined to preLindsay) had taken the greatest pare five more of these vessels, pains to obtain the most correct which would raise the number to accounts of the state of the French twelve. navy, having had personal com- Sir John Pakington munication upon the subject with sidered this statement unsatisthe Minister of Marine at Paris, factory, looking at the number of and they were at variance with iron-cased ships built, or in the information given to Sir J. course of building, in France. Pakington. Mr. Lindsay's com- Lord Palmerston observed that parison of the iron-cased fleets of the subject was one of vital imthe two countries made it appear portance. Sir J. Pakington had that we were before the French.
stated very accurately the numSir J. Elphinstone believed ber of iron.covered ships conthat the Government could from structed, or ordered to be contheir own observation confirm the structed in France; but the report of Admiral Elliot, and he larger proportion were only rethought it behoved them to in- cently ordered to be laid down. vestigate the subject of iron ships We had already seven built or without delay.
building, and the Government Mr. Dalglish suggested that a thought the most effectual meCommittee of two or three per- thod of proceeding was to take sons might be sent to inspect the advantage of the timbers of five French dockyards, and he was wooden ships prepared for buildsure that the French Government ing, and have them clad with would give them every facility. iron, whereby we should have