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Supply—Navy Estimates

Volume 217: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1873

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(23.) £167,740, Freight of ships, &c.

"That a sum, not exceeding £167,740 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense for the Freight of Ships, for the Victualling and for the Conveyance of Troops, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

said, that owing to certain regiments not having been relieved according to the Queen's Regulations, they had suffered great hardships in the passage home from North America. He had been informed that the thermometer stood much below 23 degrees, the point mentioned as the lowest reached during the voyage by his right hon. Friend opposite the Secretary to the Admiralty, in reply to a Question of his; and, indeed, he had seen the transport ship on her arrival covered with many tons of ice. He had been informed that in the daytime the temperature was below zero, and at night it must have been much lower. He hoped that when the Himalaya returned from the Gold Coast inquiries would be made into the matter. Ministers ought to impress on those who prepared their Answers to Questions put in that House the desirability of not treating them as if it did not signify what answers were given.

said, he had the greatest reliance on the credibility and honesty of the gallant Admiral who, at his request, investigated the case and gave him information, and he could assure the hon. And gallant Gentleman that Heads of Departments who supplied Ministers with answers were quite sensible of the necessity of condour and truth. It was not right, therefore, that such imputations should be cast on them. What the explanation of the discrepancy as to temperature might be he could not say; but there was no desire to throw dust in the eyes of the House. The greatest care was taken with respect to the transport of troops at the proper season and to the comfort of the troops.

remarked that the House had nothing to do with the sources of the information supplied by the Heads of Departments in the House. Those Heads alone were responsible, and not their subordinates.

concurred in this, explaining that his remark had been elicited by the hon. and gallant Member's wish to acquit himself at the expense of his subordinates.

asked whether the question of placing the transport service under the War Office was under consideration, and whether the Resolution of the House that soldiers under 20 should not be sent to India had been acted upon?

replied that the complicated question of the transport service was under the consideration both of the War Office and the Admiralty. The Horse Guards had, to the best of their ability, taken care that no man under 20 embarked for India.

disclaimed any reflection on the truthfulness of subordinates preparing answers, and any wish to fix the responsibility on them.

Question put, and agreed to.

(24.) £12,000, Supplementary Sum, Navy (Scientific Branch).

"That a Supplementary Sum, not exceeding £12,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expenses of the Scientific Branch of the Navy which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1874."

On Question? That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution,

called attention to the Vote of £4,000 for cases for naval models to be transferred from South Kensington to Greenwich. He expressed a hope that the models should be complete, and was adverting to the mode of working the guns of the Devastation by hydraulic pressure, when

said, the noble Lord could not found on the Vote a discussion on the guns of the Devastation. Among the items of the Vote was a sum of £4,000 for supplying cases for models; but it was not open to the noble Lord upon such a Vote to discuss the structure of guns.

after alluding to the few opportunities now enjoyed by private Members of raising discussions, asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was out of Order in discussing the principle of working guns?

said, that the Vote being for cases for naval models, the noble Lord was out of Order in discussing upon a Vote of that limited character the system of gunnery in the Navy.

thereupon stated that he should resist any attempt next Session to renew the Resolution as to Motions on going into Committee of Supply.

said, every care would be taken to make the collection at Greenwich as complete and satisfactory as possible.

Question put, and agreed to.

Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.