§ On the Motion that the Speaker do leave the chair for the House to go into a Committee of Supply,
§ VISCOUNT INGESTRE
rose for the purpose of again bringing under the notice of the House the invention of Mr.—for he was told that he must not call him Captain—Warner. He was aware that he incurred a great deal of ridicule by his perseverance on this subject; but he was aware, too, of the value and originality of the discovery, and that no fair trial had yet been 1072 afforded to the inventor. Before long he was confident that the subject would attract a great deal of attention. The noble Lord entered into an examination of the correspondence, at various times laid upon the Table, and read an extract of a letter, dated the 25th of May, 1842, to show that Sir K. Peel had been mistaken, in point of fact, when he stated that Mr. Warner had required a direct promise of 400,000l. for his invention. He also read passages from letters to the Master General of the Ordnance and to other persons, in order, as he said, to remove the erroneous impression that Mr. Warner was a swindler and an imposter. His Lordship maintained the reverse; and insisted, on the authority of the whole body of pilots at Brighton, that when the experiment was tried off that town, there were no ropes hanging from the exploded ship but such as had been used to tow her from Shoreham. The noble Lord also adverted to the subsequent offer of Mr. Warner to communicate his secret to Sir G. Murray, Sir R. Peel, and the naval Lord of the Admiralty, and expressed his regret that they had not consented to investigate the matter. The right hon. Baronet always, when applied to on the subject, paid great attention to it, as far as referring it to the ordinary channels; but on the latter being applied to, their invariable answer was, that they had no authority to act. The House was aware that there were two classes of inventions brought forward by Captain Warner—one which he denominated the "invisible shell," and the other, the "long range." Now, Captain Warner had always been most anxious that the first of these inventions should be investigated, and placed before the country on its own merits, before the other was at all considered; and he had repeatedly expressed his regret to him (Lord Ingestre) that he had ever been induced to mention the subject of the long range until the subject of the invisible shells was first in some manner disposed of, as both together had to so great an extent been made topics of amusement and ridicule. It was agreed on by the Commissioners appointed to investigate these inventions, that the invisible shells should first be investigated; but the correspondence which took place on this subject ended in an offer to appropriate a sum of 500l. to the experiment, though Captain Warner had previously repeatedly stated the amount which the trial would require; and it was, therefore, absurd to suppose 1073 that he could go on with an expenditure of only one-fifth of that which he required. Of these Commissioners, though one was an experienced officer, the other was a young man whose experience could have been but small; and, as a proof that there was no intention to give the subject a fair trial, he might add, that Captain Warner's demand that a third Commissioner might be appointed on his nomination, who should be capable of explaining the principles of the invention, was refused, though the suggestion had met with the approval of Sir George Murray. When the late Mr. Somes gave the ship which was blown up at Brighton, the Government could have sent men on board to examine her, and could have adopted any other precaution that they might think necessary to satisfy them that there was no trickery intended to be practised. He (Lord Ingestre) could pledge his word of honour that there was no trickery in the matter. He had himself given the signal from the shore for the destruction of the vessel on that occasion; and he was permitted to take any moment for doing so that he might think proper out of a period of two or three hours. He wished to make this explanation, because he had put his name to a document, in conjunction with two naval friends, stating that the ship was destroyed in one minute after he hoisted the signal on the shore, though, as he had just observed, he was allowed any moment he wished, out of a period of two or three hours, for giving the signal, Captain Warner being altogether ignorant of the precise time to be selected. He would next refer to the astounding power possessed in this invention. When the matter was first brought under the notice of the late Sovereign, King William the Fourth, His Majesty referred it to that distinguished officer, Sir Richard Keats, who was afterwards assisted by Sir Thomas Hardy; and they reported the inventions to be of a most powerful character. The next authority to which he would refer was that of an officer who had seen a great deal of service, having been seventeen or eighteen times in action, and who was of the highest possible character and experience. He alluded to Lieutenant William Webster, who had been selected by Sir William Parker to report to the Government on the subject. [The noble Lord here road the report of Lieutenant Webster, in which he stated, in reference to the invention, that he was firmly convinced it was utterly impossible 1074 for anything afloat to resist it for a single moment.] In fact, a hundred sail of the line would be utterly useless against a single vessel provided with these invisible shells. Lieutenant Webster had since then unfortunately died; but he who knew that gentleman well, could bear testimony to his great ability and experience. [The noble Lord next read a letter from Sir George Murray, in which he expressed his belief of the possibility of discovering such destructive substances, and that he thought the application was the only difficulty.] He could also refer to the authority of Colonel Chalmers, who told him that he was quite satisfied of the experiment on the ship at Brighton; and he would further call as evidence the opinion of the great mass of the people who witnessed that experiment, and the bulk of whom felt convinced of its complete success. He had been ridiculed and laughed at on account of his advocacy of this invention; but feeling strongly on the subject, he could not as a naval officer of this country refrain from exercising his right of asserting his opinion, and showing the grounds on which that opinion rested. It had been alleged as one of the arguments against him, that the inventor of these shells, though called a captain, in reality held no such rank. He admitted the truth of this assertion. He believed that Captain Warner had in his early career been commander of a privateer employed in landing spies on the coast of France; but he was paid by the Government for this service. He performed that dangerous and difficult duty exceedingly well; and instead of its being a stain upon his character, it was in his (Lord Ingestre's) opinion an honour to him. There was no modern instance of a great discovery in which those who deserved the merit had not in the first instance to go through an ordeal, whilst others reaped the benefit. He might only allude to the instances of gas and steam. The man who introduced gas, from which they all derived so much benefit, died an insolvent debtor in prison. Again, they all knew the difficulties that were thrown in the way of the application of steam, and of that wonder of the present age—railways. Mr. Warner's mode of destroying ships and batteries was perfectly easy and feasible; and he asked the House to pause in the construction of harbours of refuge and fortifications until the merits of Captain Warner's inventions had been investigated, because they would then be found totally use- 1075 less. With one single ship, by means of these inventions, he (Lord Ingestre) could blockade or destroy a whole fleet in Brest, Cherbourg, or any other harbour. He implored the Government for these considerations to investigate the subject. He would be happy to render all the assistance in his power; and he hoped the House would give him credit for honest intentions in doing what he considered to be his duty to his country. The noble Lord read a letter addressed to himself from Captain Warner, dated July 2, in the present year, announcing his intention of applying to the now Administration for a fair investigation of his inventions, and entering into a statement of the privations and disappointments he had suffered. Last autumn the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth stated he would request the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Master General of the Ordnance to ascertain if something could not be done. Negotiations were consequently opened with the Earl of Haddington and Sir George Murray; but just as a meeting was about to be held, the noble Earl left the Admiralty, and suggested that the subject should rest until his successor was appointed. The question was therefore again renewed, and a meeting was appointed between the Earl of Ellenborough and Colonel Chalmers. They investigated the subject with great patience. Lord Ellenborough admitted the power of the inventions, but desired to have certain matters of detail cleared up, to which he (Lord Ingestre), on the part of Captain Warner, said at once there was no objection. This related to the invisible shell. Lord Ellenborough said, he would report to the Government in favour of an experiment being made; but the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) then said, it was the long range which was wanted, and that it must be referred to a committee of officers, upon the basis of the letter of 1845. He stated this was a departure from the investigation originally proposed; and that if a specific answer could not be given, he should conclude the Government meant to abandon the invisible shell. An investigation upon the basis of the letter of 1845 was vague and unsatisfactory; but notwithstanding this, he afterwards wrote a letter, inquiring how many and what officers were to constitute the committee. He was told there would be two officers appointed, Sir T. Hastings and Captain Chads. To Captain Chads, Captain Warner had no objection; but he did object to 1076 Sir T. Hastings, on the ground that he had already prejudged the case. The matter now rested in this state; and under these circumstances he requested from hon. Members a fair and candid perusal of the correspondence of 1844 and 1846. If he should succeed in calling the attention of the country to this important subject, he should feel he had not occupied the House unprofitably. He trusted the present Government would impartially consider this case. He was not in a position to give them general political support, but he should not offer them any factious or intemperate opposition. All he asked for on the part of Captain Warner was fair play and no favour; and he felt confident if that principle were adopted, the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) would one day thank him for having pressed this subject upon the attention of the Government. The noble Viscount concluded by moving an Address to Her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to give directions for the investigation of Mr. Warner's inventions.
§ CAPTAIN PECHELL
seconded the Motion for the sake of investigation, but said he had no faith in the inventions. The hon. and gallant Officer ridiculed the experiments which had been hitherto made, and recommended the noble Lord to turn his attention to the promotion of free trade and the extension of commerce, rather than to the introduction of inventions which he firmly believed were not required.
§ SIR HOWARD DOUGLAS
Having in common with both my gallant associates, first, Vice Admiral Sir Edward Owen, and then Admiral Sir Byam Martin, declined having any thing more to do with this affair, unless positively ordered upon it, as a duty which we could not disobey, I should be too happy to escape from taking any part in this discussion, had not the noble Lord the Member for Staffordshire reflected upon the spirit and character of the Commission to which I had the honour to belong, in terms which, I think the House will admit, impose upon me the obligation of defending my gallant Colleagues and myself from the imputations which the noble Lord has cast upon our proceedings. The noble Lord, premeditating, as it now appears, this attack, and intending to refer particularly to my name, ought, I think, to have given me notice of such an intention, as due in courtesy. But I am too much of a tactician to be taken by surprise. I could not, indeed, have expected from 1077 the noble and gallant Member, that such an attack as this would be made, without notice to the parties accused; but, fortunately, I look at the Orders of the Day, and if I find anything likely to come on, in which I feel an interest, and may take a part, I arm myself with any minutes I may have made on that matter; and so, seeing the notice of the noble Lord in the Order of the Day, I put in my pocket the papers which I had Laid by two years ago, and thus luckily am provided with the ammunition which I am now, off-hand to use, without, however, having had time to refer to them in detail, to prepare myself the better to vindicate the conduct of the Commission on which I served. I shall answer, severally, in the course of what I have to say, the strictures and assertions of the noble Lord. First, as to the spirit and character in which our proceedings were conducted. To show this, it will be necessary to explain, in full, the stipulations and conditions under which I undertook, reluctantly, a duty which, having had a good deal to do with inventors and projectors, I foresaw would be difficult and laborious. And I request the attention of the House to a brief explanation of the several documents and minutes which became the basis of the instructions under which we acted, and in strict conformity with which the whole of our proceedings were regulated. When my gallant Friend, the late Master General of the Ordnance, with the concurrence of the late Prime Minister, requested me to undertake that duty, I did all I properly could to excuse myself, having then but recently returned from foreign service of considerable duration. But the proposition was pressed upon me in a manner which I could not decline: my acceptance, however, was conditional on certain stipulations which I made to Sir George Murray, in a letter dated the 31st of Dec. 1841, of which the following are extracts:—The duties of the commission will certainly be difficult, and highly responsible; but I undertake this as a duty, from which I feel that I ought not to shrink; and it affords me great satisfaction to learn that I am to be associated with such a person as Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Owen." I submitted "the necessity of coming to a clear and distinct understanding with Mr. Warner, in writing, as to the nature and extent of the preliminary experiments, and the locality where they are to be carried on; and that these be on a scale so extensive, as to ascertain, positively, the real service powers and effects of the invention." I stated that I should decidedly "object to anything short of experiments upon a large scale, to which, as they were to be made at the public expense, Capt. 1078 Warner could have no reason or pretence to object." I also stipulated "that I should have nothing whatever to do, either with the principle, or amount of reward or compensation, or be committed in any way with any proceeding that has already taken place, or with any expectation held out to, or entertained by Mr. Warner, as to any pledge, expressed or implied, for the purchase of his discovery." "I undertake this commission solely and entirely to investigate, ascertain, and verify by actual experiment the real service power, safety to the users, and practical utility of the invention, and reporting upon these accordingly, to leave the Government perfectly free to negotiate, or act in all respects thereafter with Mr. Warner as they may judge fit, on receiving our report of the absolute power, efficacy, and safety to the users of the invention, if applied by us, and consequently the detriment that would result to the national interests, by not scouring the secret to ourselves.These conditions were expressly admitted; I was appointed, accordingly, a member of the Commission, and, by seniority, became its chief. Vice Admiral Sir Edward Owen signified to the Master General of the Ordnance on the 5th of January, 1842, his acceptance of that duty, and expressed "great satisfaction in being associated in the inquiry with an officer, whose experience and character," he was pleased to say, "would ensure to it a searching investigation and candid interpretation; and that in this feeling, he would meet me with every disposition to second my views in the fulfilment of our duty." I quote from this letter, as I shall from others, to show the perfect unanimity that reigned between the Members of the Commission on which I acted, to refute the allegations and fabrications which have been circulated to the contrary. On the 22nd of January, 1842, Sir George Murray, the Master General of the Ordnance, issued the following memorandum, which formed the basis of our instructions: a copy of that minute was previously communicated to Mr. Warner:—1st. To agree upon a series of experiments to be made under Mr. Warner's directions, in the presence of Sir H. Douglas and Sir Edward Owen.2nd. To frame an estimate of the expense which will attend these experiments that it may be submitted to the Treasury previously to any expense being incurred.3rd. That when the expense has been sanctioned by the Treasury, the experiments should proceed.4th. That detailed minutes should be kept of every step of the investigation, i. e. all particulars of such experiments.5th. That Sir E. Owen and Sir H. Douglas should draw up a report as to the result of their observations to be submitted to the Prime Minister, and to which they will be pleased to annex, as an appendix, the minutes above mentioned.6th. Sir H. Douglas and Sir E. Owen will be 1079 pleased to consider the whole proceeding in this matter strictly confidential.The House will perceive that in conformity with my express stipulations, and the views of Her Majesty's Government, not a word of any promise or guarantee as to remuneration appears, and that the Commission should consist of two Members as therein named. To this memorandum Mr. Warner expressly consented, as declared by Sir George Murray, in his letter of the 30th of April, and 13th of May, 1842, (Parliamentary Papers, pp. 25 and 28) in which he states, that Mr. Warner's refusal to proceed to the experiments for which we had made all the arrangements, unless we guaranteed remuneration, "was wholly at variance with the basis which he, Sir George Murray, had laid down, and to which Mr. Warner had given his concurrence and assent." Mr. Warner accepted the proposed nomination of the Members, in a letter, of which the following is a copy:—14th January, 1842.Sir—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 12th instant.Any day after Wednesday next that may be convenient to Sir Howard Douglas, Sir Edward Owen, and yourself, I shall hold myself disengaged, and shall be most happy to attend upon you at the Ordnance, as you propose.I would have named an earlier day, but I have some plans and drawings to replace that I have destroyed, for the sake of security.From the character I have heard both of Sir Howard Douglas and Sir Edward Owen, I am highly gratified with the choice the Government has made in those distinguished officers.—I am, &c. (Signed) "S. A. WARNER.Thus Mr. Warner entered into the most express engagement, in writing, as to the powers, instructions, number, and persons of the Commission. It became my duty as the chairman, to prepare a minute in detail, to be submitted to the Commission, by which, if approved, their proceedings should be regulated. The following is a copy of that minute:—That all communications with Mr. Warner should be made in writing; and minutes kept of all that took place in our meetings with that gentleman, in conformity with articles 4 and 5 of the Master General's Memorandum.That no attempt should be made to obtain any part of Mr. Warner's secret.That he should be forbidden to answer any question that might in the slightest degree tend, if answered, to disclose his alleged discoveries.That he would be required to exhibit the practical efficacy of his inventions, on a scale sufficient to enable the Commission to ascertain and report upon their practical efficacy, and utility to the public service.That we attached by far the greatest importance 1080 to that part of his alleged discovery, which he denominated 'The long range.'That we were strongly disposed to proceed at once to witness any experiments he might exhibit of the astounding powers which he attributed to that alleged discovery.That we were likewise ready to witness the powers of his invisible shells, if tried in an open sea-way, and in strong tides.That we should not report separately on the two branches of his alleged discoveries, but wait until we should have witnessed experiments, on a scale sufficient to enable us to ascertain, with certainty, the applicability, efficacy, and value, of the 'long range' to the public service.That these experiments should be tried in the most retired locality, and conducted with every possible regard to the retention and safety of his secret.That these experiments should be conducted at the public expense.In this we went beyond our instructions; but we were resolved to do everything in our power to bring these alleged powers to a full and conclusive test, and to do nothing that might afford Mr. Warner the slightest pretext for getting up a grievance against the Commission, to be used as a plea for compensation, which we, at a very early period, foresaw would be attempted.That the experiments with the invisible shells should be such as to test their power and applicability with safety to the users, the value of the invention to us, the use to an enemy if neglected by us; the power of control, management, and direction, which the inventor possessed over these astounding powers; what reasonable certainty or seeurity there might be of our retaining the exclusive use of the invention, should it be proved to possess the powers which Mr. Warner asserted; or whether, should the Government purchase his secret, there was any probability that the philanthropic and humane purpose of protecting the human race from so desolating and destructive an agent, could be accomplished.That for the trials with the invisible shells we should provide two vessels of considerable strength and magnitude; that we should cause them to be taken to some retired bay; that Mr. Warner should have due notice to prepare his means of destruction; that the hulks should remain in our charge to the last; that he should never be permitted to visit or have any communication with them; that he should have every facility for attempting to destroy them, but not allowed to do this under circumstances which the ordinary precautions of real service would not permit.The trials to be made: first, against a vessel at anchor, and then against a vessel in motion; Mr. Warner having nothing to do with the traction or movement of the vessel whose destruction he was to attempt.The effects of the 'long range' to be tried at the full distance of what Mr. Warner states to be the powers of his 'long range,' namely, six miles.First, against a hulk at anchor; then against a vessel in motion; under such circumstances of wind and weather, &c. as the Commission might propose.1081That the 'long range' should be tried against a fort or other building or erection to represent a fort situated on a hill, at the full distance of the 'long range.'Against a real fort of considerable magnitude, which we were prepared to indicate to Mr. Warner, at the full distance of the 'long range,' and not much elevated above the position of the assailant.That the experiments with the 'long range' should be made from a vessel in a sea-way—first, to leeward of the hulk, and afterwards directly to windward of the vessel to be destroyed.That experiments should likewise be made, to enable the Commission to ascertain how far bodies, which, immersed in in the sea, or used at a 'long range,' would explode on the slightest concussion can be safely handled and applied, or resist, as in the case of the 'long range,' the percussive force of so powerful an agent.The Commission met on the 25th of January, 1842. At that interview I read to my Colleague my letter of the 31st of December, 1841, which I had addressed to the Master General of the Ordnance, and the minute which I had prepared, suggesting the course which our proceedings should take. In the whole of these views and propositions, Sir Edward Owen expressed his entire concurrence. We had another meeting on the 27th of January, at which it was settled, that though we attached by far the greatest importance to the "long range," and were much disposed to proceed at once with experiments to test its powers, we would consent to commence with the invisible shells, as desired by Mr. Warner, but only as a path to get at the "long range." At this meeting it was settled with Mr. Warner, that he should report to us when he was ready. A case has been endeavoured to be gotten up, among other alleged grievances, that considerable delay then took place by my having been called away to Liverpool for my election. I went to Liverpool on the 1st of February, and on the 9th had the honour to take my seat in this House. And so far from my absence having occasioned any delay, I was ready, and Sir Edward Owen, who did not leave London to hoist his flag till towards the end of the month, was ready likewise; but during the whole of that time we heard nothing from Mr. Warner. On Sir Edward Owen withdrawing from the Commission, he addressed a letter to Sir George Murray on the 7th of February, 1842, an extract of which will be found in the Parliamentary Papers of 1844, p. 13, to the seventh paragraph of which I particularly refer. The time has now come, and this is the proper place, for me to deny and refute assertions and statements advanced by Mr. Warner, which have appeared in 1082 several of the public papers, and some of which it seems the noble Lord believes. These gave me no individual concern; and I should not now condescend to notice them, did it not appear to me that the public interests require, that the House and the country should know, exactly, what sort of a person the Commission had to deal with, and the manner in which two British Admirals and a British General have been maligned in the performance of an arduous and highly responsible duty, which they have discharged to the best of their ability, acting fairly in strict conformity with the spirit and letter of their instructions. The following paragraph appeared in several of the public papers soon after the proceedings of the Committee were brought to an abrupt termination, by Mr. Warner having refused to proceed with the experiments we had arranged, unless we complied with demands wholly at variance with the conditions to which he had assented, and which he had no authority to grant:—Sir Howard Douglas has represented that there was a concurrence of opinion with respect to my inventions between himself and Sir Edward Owen. I will take the present opportunity of declaring that this is a misapprehension on Sir Howard's part. For when Sir Howard made light of some naval operations, which as a soldier officer he probably did not understand, Sir Edward Owen came forward in my defence, and expressed his belief that I could carry my plans into effect; and when to save time I offered to go down to a secluded part of the coast, and enter into some operations before Sir E. Owen, during Sir H. Douglas's canvass at Liverpool, Sir Howard would not permit a single explanation to be entered into during his absence, though Admiral Owen reminded him with a smile, that he felt himself competent to form a judgment of any naval movements, without the gallant General's assistance. I regret, to this hour, Sir Edward Owen's departure for the Mediterranean, for I believe that his knowledge of seamanship and candid disposition would have brought my affairs to a different termination than has befallen them.I transmitted, on the 29th of August, 1842, this identical extract to Sir Edward Owen, who answered (12th of September)—Decidedly no such conversation ever passed between us. There was no difference of opinion. We both considered Mr. Warner to be trifling with the inquiry. The invisible shell is an acquaintance of forty years standing. You wished to get at once to the long range, in which I heartily concurred, and consented to go into the invisible shells as a footpath to the long range. I was prepared for the finale of Mr. Warner's proposition, which appeared to me to contain nothing more than an unusual share of the most barefaced charlatanerie.1083 On the departure of Vice Admiral Sir Edward Owen, a successor was appointed, whose high character, eminent services, and qualifications, rendered him peculiarly fit for the difficult duties which I foresaw we should have to discharge; and it was with the highest degree of satisfaction that I found myself acting under Admiral Sir Byam Martin, who now, by seniority of rank, became chief of the Commission. I immediately transmitted to him all the papers and documents relating to the inquiry. On the 31st of March, 1842, I received from Sir Byam Martin a minute, dated that day, of which the following is a copy, and which I beg leave to read to the House, because it shows the approbation and concurrence which the lately appointed chief expressed in the previous proceedings, and his adhesion to the proposed arrangements; thus proving the perfect harmony and unanimity which reigned throughout between the two distinguished Admirals and myself. [The gallant Officer read the minute, which was in entire conformity with his statements.] With respect to the objections to the enlargement of the Commission, by the appointment of a third member, whether the noble Lord or any other person who had previously been connected with this investigation, and which he complains of as unfair to Mr. Warner; we expressly stipulated that we should have nothing whatever to do with any previous proceedings or persons. We foresaw, distinctly, that attempts would be made to connect us with previous experiments, said to have been successful, but of which no documentary proof could be found, and which were stated to have been made in the presence of some eminent and distinguished men now no more. We undertook this as a new Commission, the terms and composition of which were, as I have said, expressly assented to, in writing, by Mr. Warner. We stated, that if his subsequent demands for the enlargement of the Commission were deemed advisable, we were ready to withdraw; but that having commenced our labours in conformity with those engagements, we would either proceed undisturbed by any alteration of the Commission, to complete the duty intrusted to us, or resign. Soon after Sir Byam Martin's appointment, he, unfortunately, became considerably indisposed; and, under those circumstances, it appeared to the Master General of the Ordnance, that if the unfavourable state of Sir Byam Martin's health should prevent 1084 the investigation from proceeding, it would be necessary to appoint another Commissioner; and, accordingly, Sir George Murray intended in that case to give me another Colleague. The noble Lord the Member for Staffordshire denies, and does not permit me to correct him, that the intention to appoint another Commissioner had reference only to the unfavourable state of Sir Byam Martin's health. I shall set the noble Lord right, by reading from Sir George Murray's letter of the 27th of March, 1842, which I hold in my hand:—As Sir Byam Martin's health is happily restored, and the apprehension of delay on that account has ceased, the motive for Mr. Warner's suggestion ceases also; for it must be obvious to every one, that it is both for the interest of the public, and fair towards Mr. Warner, that the investigation should be continuous, and that it should be begun and finished by the same Commission, if that can possibly be effected.Sir Byam Martin's health having happily been speedily re-established, we met and addressed conjointly to Mr. Warner a letter, dated April 4th, 1842, stating—That we are ready to proceed in the investigation of your discoveries with as little delay as may be consistent with our instructions—that it is our intention, first, to have your 'long range' exhibited, and afterwards a practical illustration, of the effect of the 'invisible shells;' in both cases the materials to be prepared on such a scale as you may deem to be necessary for real service.And further requiring to know what assistance Mr. Warner might deem necessary. To this we received, on the evening of the 13th, from Mr. Warner, a letter dated the 11th, which will be found in the Parliamentary Papers, from which I read, for brevity, the following extracts:—You express a desire to see an exhibition of the powers of my 'long range' first, and then some practical illustration of the efficacy of my 'invisible shells.'With regard to the reversal of the order in which the investigation was commenced, I do not think it advisable. As I have already commenced my explanations, with reference to the 'invisible shells,' to Admiral Sir Edward Owen and Sir Howard Douglas, I think it better to complete that investigation first, and then proceed to the 'long range.' If an experiment is insisted upon, I am quite prepared to make one, and enclose, according to your request, an estimate of the probable expense as well as I can, in the absence of any specification of what you require to be done. I, however, submit to your consideration whether this expense might not be avoided, when I can refer, as eye-witnesses, to the following Gentlemen now holding high offices of State — the First Lord of the Treasury, the Master General of the 1085 Ordnance, the Senior Naval Lord of the Admiralty, &c.With such testimony as to the actual power of explosion under my control, it may be a question worthy the consideration of Government, whether a repetition of an experiment of an explosive character may not incur unnecessary expense and loss of time, besides the risk of attracting public notice, which to a certain extent is unavoidable, whatever precautions may be taken.But I must here stipulate that in the event of the experiments (with the invisible shells) proving successful, I have to be paid the sum finally agreed upon, and on the receipt of the money for the invisible shells, will forthwith proceed to demonstrate the power of the long range.Thus the House will perceive that whilst our main object was to get to the "long range," and that Mr. Warner had been distinctly told by us that we had no power, whatever, to enter on the question of guarantee or remuneration, and that although he had expressly assented to arrangements which left that matter exclusively to the consideration of the Government, he now positively refused to enter on experiments at all, unless we gave some guarantee or promise on the part of the Government, as to the remuneration he demanded. On the 16th of April the Commission addressed a letter, of which the following is an extract, to Mr. Warner; and as this contained a distinct specification of the experiments we desired to witness, it is important that I should refer to the more material passages of that letter. The gallant Officer read from the Parliamentary Papers, p. 18, the passage he referred to, and of which the following are the principal points:—We therefore readily assent to your wish that the invisible shells may be first tried; but our report must embrace both classes of experiments, and cannot be made until both have been concluded.You say in your letter now before us, 'I, however, submit to your consideration whether this expense might not be avoided, when I can refer, as eye-witnesses of an experiment, to the first Lord of the Treasury, the Master General of the Ordnance, the Senior Naval Lord of the Admiralty, the Secretary at War, Lord Hardwicke, and Lord Ingestre.'If we were to be satisfied with the opinions of others, our commission would be an absurdity; and we frankly tell you we cannot permit ourselves to be influenced by any thing which has hitherto occurred.To us, it does not appear that any experiments have been made either on a scale, or under circumstances, or in a manner, to warrant a conclusion that the power, whatever it may be, which you call invisible shells, is applicable, or practicable, under all the conditions and circumstances of real service; and with respect to the long range, to which we attach, from your own assertions of its prodigious powers, a degree of importance in- 1086 finitely beyond any that can be assigned to any submarine mines or fougasses, whatever be the force of the explosive composition they contain, or the mode of action; we having nothing but statements which you made of a power so astonishing and omnipotent as must, by your own admission, be incredible to those who have not witnessed it—nothing, therefore, can satisfy us but practical proofs on a large scale, and under circumstances common to land and sea service in time of war.(Signed)" T. BYAM MARTIN,HOWARD DOUGLAS.With respect to the vessel or hulk, against which the experiments were to be tried, we acquainted Mr. Warner that we could not consent to his proposition to provide, or cause to be constructed, the hulk against which he was to try his alleged powers. We intimated to him, that we charged ourselves with this, as with every thing else that the public could provide without prying into his secret; and that conducting the experiments in a real service manner, he would not be permitted to communicate with, or go nearer the vessel to be destroyed, than he would be allowed to board or approach an enemy's ship; that when he reported himself ready, we should convey the hulks to the locality selected for the experiments; and that the movement or traction of the vessel to be attacked in motion, would be managed by the Commission, and not dragged by the assailants to certain destruction. The noble Lord denies that Mr. Warner insisted on providing the vessel himself. The noble Lord is again in error, as the "Estimate," transmitted to us by Mr. Warner in his letter of the 11th of April, will show. I now come to some other assertions made by Mr. Warner, which I shall characterize by no other term, than that of being wholly and entirely groundless; and which, as I am not fond of bandying strong words, I shall at once dispose of:—Sir Howard, in a very peremptory manner, told me I must disclose my secret agent, and explain its nature, properties, and composition, as well as exhibit and explain my mode of operation. This I at once declined, when Sir Howard said, without such disclosure he could not recommend my inventions to Her Majesty's Government."—Extract of a Statement which appeared in The Times, Morning Post, Naval and Military Gazette.To this, I adduce first the Minutes of proceedings of the 19th day of April, 1842, annexed to our Report, in conformity with Articles 4 and 5 of the Master General's Memorandum of the 22nd January, 1842:—Present: — Admiral Sir T. Byam Martin, Lieutenant General Sir Howard Douglas.1087Having at our last meeting, on the 16th instant, decided upon the answer to be given to Mr. Warner's letter of the 11th, he was appointed to meet us, this day, at three o'clock.Mr. Warner was called in, and the two following paragraphs read to him:You have desired in your letter of the 11th instant to stipulate for a reward for the disclosure of your secret, and remuneration of your expenses, if your inventions are proved to our satisfaction.The letter now about to be delivered to you is in answer to yours, in which you are informed that we have no authority to entertain any such proposition. We think it right to tell you this before we ask any questions, in order that you may exercise your own discretion as to whether or not you will answer them.Mr. Warner made no objection to the questions being put.We then read to him this paragraph, viz., 'Before we proceed to ask any questions respecting the practical application of your inventions, we think it right again to warn you not to impart to us any part of what you term your secret; if you do so, it will be your own fault, and contrary to our wishes. You will therefore decline to answer any questions you may think objectionable.'The House will perceive from this, that in our letters to Mr. Warner, and in all our meetings with him, we invariably charged him not to answer any question, or say anything that could in the least tend to divulge any part of his secret, and that we as invariably acquainted him that we had no authority to entertain any proposition or stipulation relating to remuneration. Two days after this meeting we received a letter from Mr. Warner, dated Clarence Chambers, 12, Haymarket, 19th April, 1842, which proves that after everything was prepared, he did refuse to come to the point, unless we made promises or gave guarantees wholly at variance with the conditions to which he had assented. He said—As I made this the basis of my offer to Her Majesty's Government, I feel it impossible to proceed any further until you have received authority to promise me, on the part of the Government, the remuneration I ask, in the event of my proving to your satisfaction my ability to effect what I have unfolded in the document to which you have done me the honour to refer.On the 20th of May, we wrote to Mr. Warner, acknowledging the receipt of his letter of the 19th of May, and stating—Our functions having ceased by your 'finally' declining to proceed to the experiments upon which we were prepared to enter (unless under a guarantee, which we are not authorized to give), we should have confined ourselves simply to an intimation of the transmission of your letter to the Master General of the Ordnance, were it not for that passage in it wherein you say, 'I put it to your candour, whether I have not already made many important disclosures to yourselves.'To this appeal we give a decided negative, not 1088 only for ourselves, but for the Commission as originally constituted.The noble Lord makes a serious charge against the Commission, that the minutes of what passed between the Commission and Mr. Warner on the 19th of April, 1842, were written unfairly, after the meeting, instead of being taken down at the time in his presence and with his knowledge. This is another error amongst the many into which the noble Lord has been led by his client, and another injustice he has done to the Commission, by believing this, to their prejudice. The whole of the minutes, questions, and answers, annexed to the proceedings to which the noble Lord refers, were written down at the time by Sir Byam Martin, as enjoined by our instructions, in the presence of Mr. Warner, with his knowledge, and without any appearance or expression of objection. The noble Lord complains that these minutes should have been produced! Why, he moved for the production of the papers: the minutes of the proceedings were inseparably connected, by our instructions, with the despatches of which they were enclosures; and the Government had no alternative but to give all or none. This brought to light the affair of the Nautilus, and the destruction of the two French privateers off Folkestone, to which the noble Lord has adverted, as to a fact that should have satisfied us. [The hon. Member appended here a long note to show Mr. Warner's assertion that he had destroyed two French vessels with all their crews had been inquired into; and that no trace whatever of any such destruction could be found either at the Admiralty or at the Foreign Office, under which Mr. Warner alleged he was employed at the time in the Nautilus.] Then Mr. Warner has stated, and the noble Lord seems to believe it, that I made observations which led Mr. Warner to suppose that after he had proved all he professed to do, he should receive no remuneration—that I made remarks from time to time to the effect, that after the disclosure should have been made by him, what was to prevent me from asking 400,000l. for the secret? I positively deny that any such conversation took place. The whole of the questions put that day, with the exception of those which followed incidentally from the reference to the affair of the two privateers sunk off Folkestone, were prepared by Sir Byam Martin previously, were put by him, and the answers written down by him, and I am now in possession of that 1089 document, to which, as I now perceive, Sir Byam Martin affixed at the time the following minute:—Mr. Warner has been treated with great favour and indulgence; and if all the sanguine projectors who may be expected to present their contrivances, are to have them proved at the public expense, and with stipulated promises of reward, the national revenue would scarcely be sufficient to meet their demands. "T. B. M.I transmitted on the 3rd of September, 1844, Mr. Warner's assertions, as above' to Sir Byam Martin, and received the following answer:—During the time I had the satisfaction to be joined with you in that duty, I can safely say that no conversation of the nature stated in his letter ever took place in my presence; and, as far as I saw, the whole bearing of your conduct towards Mr. Warner, was the reverse of what is described in his published letter.So far from desiring to procure from Mr. Warner a knowledge of his secret, you cordially agreed with me in forbidding him to answer any question that could have the least tendency to draw from him any thing leading to its disclosure. You will no doubt recollect, that in order to give this warning the greater force, I committed it to writing, and read it to Mr. Warner before any question was asked of him. This I trust will appear in the papers which, by his desire, are about to be laid before the public.No projector was ever more favoured by the Government; he had every assistance offered to him—men, vessels, and materials, free of all charge; and I can confidently assert, that he received from us every fair consideration and attention. — Ever truly yours, "T. BYAM MARTIN.In reply to the many insinuations or assertions that the Master General of the Ordnance attributed the abrupt termination of the proceedings to any error or failure on the part of the Commission, or that we had acted in any way contrary to the letter and spirit of his instructions, or that Her Majesty's Government disapproved of our proceedings, it is only necessary to refer to the letters which were received from the Master General,* approving of having refused Mr. Warner's proposition, as wholly at variance with his (the Master General's) Memorandum, and with the arrangements to which Mr. Warner had assented; that we had judged rightly in what we had done; that he (the Master General) had no authority for such a preliminary guarantee as Mr. Warner now requires, nor would recommend such a proposition to the Government; and Sir George Murray, moreover, communicated this to Mr. Warner himself in his letter of the 4th July, 1842:—* In his published pamphlet the gallant Officer appended here the letters referred to.1090Ordnance Office, 4th July, 1842.Sir—Since receiving your letter of the 1st instant, I have reperused the original memorandum drawn up by me with reference to the mode in which it seemed to me that Government might proceed with regard to your discovery. You were informed of the contents of that paper, and have, if I mistake not, a copy of it. It was submitted by me in the outset to Sir R. Peel, and it having received his sanction, I proceeded, as you are aware, to act upon it.I retain the opinion I had then formed, that the mode of proceeding suggested by the memorandum above-mentioned, is one which is fair and just both towards yourself and towards the public; and I have no authority to pursue any other course.The perfect knowledge which you possess of the nature of your discovery, and of the result of the various trials to which you have seen it subjected, may have satisfied your mind fully of the great power of the agent which you employ, of the safety and facility of its application, and of the high value of your secret to any country which obtains the exclusive possession of it. But before the Government of this country can pledge itself to a remuneration so large as that which you claim, it seems reasonable that it should obtain some practical evidence that the opinions and expectations which you yourself entertain with regard to your discovery rest upon solid grounds, and have been formed after a full and impartial investigation of the subject.(Signed) "G. MURRAY.On the 25th of April, we reported to the Master General that our proceedings, in the investigation of Mr. Warner's alleged discoveries, had been brought to an abrupt close, by his refusing to observe the terms and conditions to which he had assented; and we made the following report, to which I now particularly request the attention of the House, and claim the support of Her Majesty's Government, in adhering to the resolution which we finally came to, and which Her Majesty's late Government determined to observe:—That Mr. Warner should be pushed to submit immediately to extensive experiments with the 'long range,' at a distance of six miles, to prove that the 'long range' can be applied, with perfect safety to the users; that these astounding powers may be safely and accurately directed: that if he shall effectually destroy a work and its defences, and a hulk or hulks at that distance; if he can prove that this may be effected at any time and under any circumstances of wind and weather, by exhibiting it, first directly from the leeward, and then directly from the windward of the ship or fort to be destroyed; we shall report that he has made an omnipotent discovery, which will place him pre-eminent in the annals of the world, and entitle him to liberal reward for a discovery of such immense magnitude and importance, as to be, in Mr. Warner's own words, 'perfectly incredible.'But after having devoted a life to the study and practice of such matters, I avow my 1091 entire incredulity, as to the existence of any such power, or if it did exist, the physical impossibility of the "long range." The noble Lord has spoken of this as one of the most important of modern inventions, and which, in his judgment, classes Mr. Warner with the sages to whom the world is indebted—for gas, railways, and, I think, the noble Lord said steam, and far superior to the invention of gunpowder. This leads me, likewise, unexpectedly and off-hand, to make a few observations on the noble Lord's philosophy, and I think I said credulity. It is true, that gas for illuminating our streets, and the giant power of steam, are now effecting, what would have been deemed impossible and visionary half a century ago. But these agents are latent powers of nature, set free by discoveries made, and gradual improvements, pursued, through the paths of science. Gas is distilled from coal—steam vapourised from water; and these most useful and powerful agents act according to the immutable laws of nature. But Mr. Warner asserts a power which sets the most important laws of nature at defiance. Gravitation, by which the system of the universe is maintained—resistance, by which some of the most benign purposes of Providence are accomplished, are nothing to Mr. Warner. When Colonel Chalmers, a member of the late Commission, cautioned Mr. Warner of the prodigious powers of resistance to his long range, he exclaimed,* "Who can frame laws to govern a force which has never before been heard of—a force a hundred times greater than that of gunpowder?" More was urged by the Colonel, but, as he says, Mr. Warner was too dogmatical to reason with. Who can frame laws to control such a force as Mr. Warner imagines? Why, the Almighty Maker of the universe. Does the noble Lord not know, that the doctrine which excludes resistance, would assign powers of range to projectiles surpassing infinitely any that has ever been attained, or can be reached? A projectile, whose random range is about 1,300 yards, with a velocity of 600 feet per second, would range three times as far, were it not for the resistance of the air; and this, which, with moderate velocities, is as their squares, increases in a higher ratio with greater celerities. When a projectile is forced through the atmosphere with a velocity greater* Parliamentary Papers, Minutes of Proceedings, page 44, line 16.1092 than that with which air can rush into a vacant space (and which, in a mean state of atmospheric pressure, is about 1,400 feet in a second), a vacuum is formed behind the projectile, by which the resistance suddenly and greatly increases. It rises to a higher ratio with a greater velocity, and a solid shot projected with 3,000 feet velocity, which would range only about 3,000 yards, would, by the parabolic theory, attain to forty times as far! This, I think, must be the theory of the "long range." It is precisely because Mr. Warner's alleged projectile force is, as he says, a hundred times greater than that of gunpowder, that it would be met by a resisting force greater in an increased ratio, by which the projectile would be opposed, controlled, and reduced to moderate velocities, and limited ranges. We possess in gunpowder a greater force than we require. We reject the random use of it, to gain accuracy. The mighty power by which one of the cliffs of Albion was recently blown into the sea, and the Royal George out of it, is more than adequate to any that war requires, or can be used with advantage in projectiles. A shot discharged with great initial velocity is, by the resistance to its flight, reduced, after passing over certain spaces, to the celerity which it would have, at that point, if projected with a lesser charge, that is, with a moderate velocity. The greatest range that ever yet has been attained was by the mortar or howitzer, the trophy that now stands in St. James's Park, which threw a shell filled with lead about three miles into Cadiz, but with such random effect as to do little or no harm. By using the denser metal, lead, that range was procured, and the momentum of the shell, so filled, augmented. A British 13-inch shell filled with lead discharged from a mortar with the full charge, may be projected about as far as the Cadiz mortar threw its shell. I do not say that greater ranges may not be attained; but taking the relation between the calibre and the projectile, length, magnitude, and weight of gun, charge and elevation, and applying these to compute the powers of artillery of size beyond any thing at present in use, or that can possibly be used in war, no great increase, even of random range, could be obtained, by increasing the magnitude of the gun to almost any size. And even then it would be a random range, ascending to an immense height to fall upon a point in an amplitude of 31,600 feet, to compute which, according to the doctrine 1093 of chances, might require experiments or practice of twenty years' duration, before a vessel could be touched, if such a long range, by any projectile power, were physically possible. My life has been devoted in a great degree to matters of this kind, and I assert, that it is physically impracticable to procure a range of six miles by any projectile force. Mr. Warner first asserted that his long range was not a projectile: he has since asserted that it is. But it may be a balloon, or a kite: if so it is old, and nothing worth.* It may be a compound of projection and propulsion. This were still more ridiculous. I have said, that we possess in gunpowder explosive force quite adequate to effect what Mr. Warner asserts in his invisible shells, and more than sufficient as a projectile force. Captain Harvey of the Navy, soon after I made this observation, exhibited very sufficient proofs of this in his very ingenious experiments, in which he destroyed a vessel quite as expertly and effectually as Mr. Warner did at Brighton; and I believe no other agent was used than gunpowder and, perhaps, some "ready-light" match. I do not deny that Mr. Warner may have hit upon some explosive compound more potent than gunpowder, and some improved mode of causing it to explode, either by mechanical or chemical action; but as to the modus operandi, so far from there being anything new in Mr. Warner's process, I hold in my hand a work published at Paris five and twenty years ago—"Memoire sur les Mines Flottantes et les Petards Flottans, ou Machines Infernales Maritimes; par Montgery, Officier de Marine," containing a history of many different modes of blowing up ships by marine fougasses from very early times. This work has for its frontispiece, the destruction of a vessel by an invisible shell loaded with gunpowder, which did its work more effectually than in the case of the John o' Gaunt. Mr. Montgery details in this work, different processes for blockading vessels in bays or harbours, by laying down "torpilles à ligne d'accouplement,"* It was proposed during the threat of invasion in the late war, to endeavour to destroy the Boulogne flotilla by such agents; but this was laughed at. It is well known that Sir W. Congreve proposed to destroy towns and forts by the aid of kites. They were to be made of canvass, and of a very large size, so as to be able to carry very great weights. When the kite had reached its place of destination, and stood over the devoted fort, camp, or ship, the shell was to be dropped into the midst of the place or vessel.1094 across their entrances, these torpilles being made invisible by being retained below the surface of the sea by anchors, and connected with each other by lines, so that no vessel could pass, without coming in contact, either with a torpille, or with the line connecting one with another, causing both to collapse, strike the vessel, and explode. Mr. Montgery likewise details the process by which a vessel in chase of another may be destroyed by the use of two torpilles, connected to each other by a line.Vessels of all sizes, but above all steamboats, may make use of these torpilles connected with each other by lines. A vessel may even sink another by torpilles connected with each other by lines. Vessels or boats chased by superior forces may deliver themselves from their enemies, by throwing into the sea one or more of these mines flottantes connected with each other. The operation of shutting up an enemy's port, ought to be executed at night, otherwise the enemy having knowledge of it, would easily frustrate the attempt.This is exactly the Brighton experiment. It were easy to adduce from Mr. Montgery's work, and many others, abundant proofs that there is nothing new in the proposition for submarine mines, as suggested by Mr. Warner. After bestowing a great deal of consideration and research on this subject, the Commission was of opinion that Mr. Warner's invisible shells were of very minor importance, and we attached very little value to them; we consented to witness that class of Mr. Warner's experiments as the only way of getting at the long range. We were of opinion that the Government and the country might safely abandon the invisible shell, to any use that the projector can make of it; but having failed in our endeavours to bring Mr. Warner to the test of his long range, upon the fair, liberal and equitable terms which we proposed, according to arrangements to which he expressly assented, we urged the Government to have nothing more to do with Mr. Warner, unless he would forthwith exhibit to competent persons the actual powers of his long range, which, after all that has been said and written, he confesses he never has tried against a ship, vessel, or building. Let him place his vessel or apparatus where he likes; let the vessel to be destroyed be brought on a given day, by a steam-tug to within six miles of his position, and there anchored or cast loose, directly to windward of his position; let the same thing be done to the leeward: if under these circumstances he succeed in destroying or damaging the hulk, I shall retract all I 1095 have said; allow that the studies of a life are at one blow overthrown, and I shall admit that Mr. Warner has made an omnipotent discovery, which will give him that high place among the sages of the world, which the noble Lord would assign him, and supersede all existing modes of warfare. Sir, I must say that the manner in which this affair has been treated, and the terms in which the Commissioners have been maligned, is not very creditable to the science or public press of the country, or to the service to which we belong. I say nothing of myself: I, individually, entirely despise such attacks and misrepresentations; but two British Admirals and a British General have been accused of treating unfairly, partially, and unfeelingly, a projector whom it was their duty to treat, and whom they did treat, with urbanity, consideration, and the utmost liberality. Some, indeed, of the scientific and literary journals did review and express themselves upon this very important and interesting case in an able, creditable, scientific manner, and in a fair and liberal spirit. The Artizan (article ix. 1844), a valuable and well-conducted periodical; the Polytechnic Review, which I regret to find is discontinued; the Athenæum, (No. 881, p. 829) and some of the daily and weekly journals, have likewise treated this matter fairly and learnedly. Some great organs have been led into error by their mathematical department; but I have been most surprised at the articles which have appeared in a highly respectable military journal, the editor of which ought to have known better. I trust the noble Lord will see how grievously he has been imposed upon; that the House will think that I have completely vindicated the Commission, of which I was a member, from the imputations, aspersions, and fabrications, with which it has been assailed; that the country will see the manner in which Mr. Warner has endeavoured to practise upon public credulity; and, in conclusion, Sir, I trust it will be admitted that the Commission did its duty fairly, impartially, liberally, and considerately towards Mr. Warner, in conformity with the spirit and letter of our instructions; that we had made every preparation that depended upon us, to enable Mr. Warner to prove the existence and efficacy of the astounding powers which he asserts; and that the proceedings of the Committee were brought to a termination, by his flying from the engagements into which he 1096 had expressly entered with Her Majesty's Government.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. C. Wood)
, hoped his noble Friend would withdraw the Motion. All Captain Warner asked for was a fair opportunity of proving the value of the invention before persons appointed by the Government, and in whom the Government had confidence; and the Government were perfectly prepared to appoint impartial officers, to whom there could be no objection, to investigate the merits of the inventions, and a thorough consideration would be given to whatever report might be made by those officers. Captain Warner had offered objections to the last Commission on account of some individual Member of it; but the Government would endeavour to avoid any such difficulty.
§ MR. BROTHERTON
believed that, some years ago, an opportunity had been presented to Captain Warner by Colonel Sir C. Shaw, in Portugal, of putting his inventions to the test; but various excuses were then made, no eagerness was exhibited to seize the offer, and the gallant Colonel then stated, that such had been the conduct of Captain Warner, he had lost all faith in him and his vaunted invention. It had been said that The Times newspaper was a strong advocate of this invention, and he believed that, formerly, such was the fact; but he had placed the letters referring to the transaction he had mentioned in the hands of a gentleman connected with The Times, and, so far as he was aware, The Times had never since said a word in favour of Captain Warner. He objected to grant 400,000l., not because he considered it was too large a sum for the invention, but because he could not find it in his conscience to vote one shilling for the encouragement of inventors of such an infernal machine as this appeared to be. If they gave any encouragement, they would have infernal machines by the dozen; and men, to produce them, would leave all useful and peaceful employment. To grant such a sum was rewarding a man for destroying his kind.
§ MR. WAKLEY
thought, that, whether the long range succeeded or did not succeed, the question ought to be settled. They were wasting hours every Session in discussing the subject, and it had now become a perfect farce. They heard all sorts of recriminations, all sorts of charges and counter-charges, and nothing would satisfy the public but a trial. The right 1097 hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated now, that the Government would appoint, as a Commission, officers in whose judgment and in whose impartiality they could confide; but then there came the question—would those officers satisfy Captain Warner? What he would ask the Government to do was this—that, in addition to the officers in whom they could confide, they should select two or three persons of acute observation and strong common sense, who should go into the question without any prejudice at all, and represent accurately to the House what they absolutely saw of Captain Warner's invention. The gallant Officer (Sir Howard Douglas) was far from being prejudiced in the matter; but he had a strong conviction of the impossibility of any projectile being discovered with a range of six miles; and even the senses were sometimes discredited when novel experiments in science were concerned. Above all, before they proceeded to any trial, they should have Captain Warner's statement in writing that he was satisfied with the preliminary arrangements, or the question would be brought before them again and again. Considering the just view the Government had taken of the question, he hoped the noble Lord would withdraw his Motion.
§ SIR H. DOUGLAS
explained, that Captain Warner did, on the former occasion, assent to the appointment of Sir Edward Owen and himself.
§ VISCOUNT INGESTRE
thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the spirit in which he had announced the intentions of the Government, and complimented it on its first public act, being what he considered an act of justice. He assured the hon. Member for Salford that he had been misinformed in what he stated relative to Captain Warner, and he should be happy to put him in possession of proofs that he was in error. All he wished was, that the Government and Captain Warner should understand each other thoroughly; and he offered to become the medium of communication between them.
§ Motion withdrawn.