HC Deb 16 February 1855 vol 136 cc1472-502

(1.) 77,099l. Naval Expenditure beyond the Grants for the year ending on the 31st day of March 1854.


Mr. Bouverie, it is now my duty, and I can assure the Committee that I will perform it as briefly as possible, to bring under their notice the Navy Estimates. In doing so in the first instance, before we proceed to vote any sums for the charge of the navy in the year about to commence on the first of April next, it is my duty to put into your hands two Votes with reference to our past expenditure. The first of these Votes is for the sum of 79,000l., which is the amount due on account of excess of expenditure upon the year ending on the 31st of March, 1854; and the second Vote is a Vote on account of excess in the current year of the sum of 1,938,104l. upon the entire sum voted in the course of the present financial year, being the excess which has arisen upon the Vote for the entire charge of the Navy, and which will become payable before the first of April next. Now, Sir, I have viewed with great anxiety the trial of the system upon which naval votes and accounts have been administered during the last eleven months of the war. The Committee will perhaps recollect that in the year 1832 a change was made in the preparation and system of naval Votes, and more especially with reference to the accounts of the Navy. From a very early period, almost from the Revolution of 1688, owing to the wide extent of the naval expenditure of the coun- try, an expenditure carried on in every part of the world, and to the accounts having been remitted at uncertain periods, whenever a war took place the naval debt began to accumulate, and before the close of the war, in 1813, the naval debt, separate from the national debt, amounted to no less a sum than 8,900,000l. The origin of this debt is to be traced partly to the circumstance I have mentioned—to the wide area over which that expenditure is spread, and partly also to the vicious system of drawing bills at long dates, which had prevailed from the Revolution down to the year 1832. In that year precautions were taken by Parliament with reference to the system of drawing bills. Instead of payment by bills prompt payment was introduced, and additional precautions were also taken to ensure greater accuracy in the preparation of the estimates; because under the more lax system which prevailed up to that time, the estimates were generally low, the expenditure, in war constantly exceeded them, and that excess was met by the creation of a separate naval debt. Now, Sir, the precautions taken were considered at the time to be ample, and I am glad to say, after twenty years' experience, they have proved satisfactory. At the same period an alteration was made in the Appropriation Act, which compelled not only the perpetual audit of the accounts, but, when there has been an excess in the expenditure of the year beyond the vote of supply for the naval expenditure of that year, it has been by law rendered compulsory that that excess shall be stated to Parliament by an independent board of audit, and that that excess shall be brought under the notice of a Committee of Supply, and the deficiency made good by a separate vote; or, if there he a surplus, that that surplus shall be carried to the credit of the year in which such surplus occurred. The first vote I have to bring under your notice is in accordance with this provision. In the year ending the 31st of March, 1854, the surplus of expenditure over the sum voted was 79,000l. Considering the large sums of which the estimates were composed, this amount is in itself insignificant, but the production of this excess now is a proof of the efficacy of the new system and of the careful observation of the rule laid down by Parliament. The next vote, as I have already said, has reference to the present year, ending on the 31st of March, and notwithstanding the large amount which Parlia- ment generously voted for the naval service in the last year, amounting, independently of the cost of transports, to above 8,000,000l., the actual surplus expenditure for the year ending on the 31st of March, as nearly as we can calculate it, including transports, will amount to a sum of 1,938,000l. Of this sum, on a former evening, a Vote was taken on account for 1,600,000l., and there remains therefore tai he voted a sum of 3221.504. Now, the estimates for the ensuing year are larger than the estimates voted for the current year, independently of this supplementary estimate, by I sum of about 2,000,000l, If we take, in addition to the SUM actually voted, this supplementary estimate fur the current year of 1,933,000l., the sum asked being about 10,000,000l., is only an increase of 299,000l., independently of transports, for the whole naval service of next year, as compared with the expenditure of the current year.

In former years of war the number of men voted has been infinitely larger than the number of men which I now ask at your hands. The number of men voted in 1814 was no less than 147,000 men. The proposition which I now make to the Committee is, that there shall be an addition to the present force of 6,700 seamen and boys, and of 500 marines, making the naval force for the ensuing year amount to 70,000 men. The excess now asked for over the sum voted for the current year amounts altogether, as I have already stated, excluding the supplementary estimate, which is the second Vote, to about 2.000,000l. This excess arises upon five Votes. It arises upon Vote 1 for men, amounting to 231,000l.; upon Vote 2, for victuals, amounting to 303,000l.; on Vote 8, for wages, 171,000l.; Vote 10, for stores, machinery, and ships, amounting to 1,088,000l.; and Vote 11, new works, 188,000l. As I have already stated to the House the large number of seamen voted at the end of the former war amounted altogether, seamen and marines, to 147,000 men, and I have contrasted that number with the present force which it is my duty to propose to you. But I must here call to the remembrance of the House the altered circumstances under which the naval force is now created. Throughout the last war impressment universally prevailed. I have the pleasure of stating to the Committee, that, at this moment, the full amount of naval force voted by Parliament, exclusive of marines, amounting to somewhere near 61,000 men—the whole of that force is now afloat and is available for service, by voluntary enlistment; and the whole number voted by Parliament is, indeed, slightly exceeded. The expenditure under Vote 1, which is somewhat in excess, is to be traced to causes which have rendered this voluntary enlistment comparatively easy. By the generosity of Parliament various alterations have been introduced into the pay and allowances of seamen. Some of these, I think, I have stated on former occasions to the House; some I have now to state for the first time. There was, for example, what appeared to the Board of Admiralty an unjust distinction in the pay of marines afloat as compared with the pay of those on shore. A deduction was made from their pay in consideration of the rations which were issued to them when on board, together with the seamen. That reduction has now been abolished, and a marine now receives his pay whether afloat or on shore, without any deduction, and when serving afloat is placed on a footing of perfect equality with seamen. Then, again, there was a new rating introduced towards the close of the last year—that of "leading men," with a higher class of pay, as contrasted with "ablebodied seamen." Then, again, we have introduced a system of payment infinitely more prompt than heretofore. By this arrangement ships are paid almost immediately on their arrival in port, instead of having an outstanding account lying over for some time, a principle which was introduced by the Government which preceded the one to which I lately had the honour to belong, by the Board of Admiralty, presided over by the Duke of Northumberland. In consequence of this system of prompt payment, I may mention that the Baltic fleet, which has recently returned to England, had been paid up in full, with the exception of some two months' pay. Then, again, as to allotments of pay;—there have been increased facilities afforded in that important matter—the privilege of the seaman in exercising an independent right of disposal over his own earnings. There were restrictions formerly on that right which appeared to me to be neither necessary nor just. A seaman was not permitted to allot his pay, excepting in certain degrees of affinity—relationship was necessary to constitute the right of an allottee. The Board of Admiralty have abolished that restriction, and a seaman now has a perfect right to nominate any person to whom he wishes his pay to be allotted, without reference at all to any degree of relationship, or any other consideration. Then again, in regard to another important matter, a Vote is to be taken for a considerable sum, 197,000l., in excess of the vote for slops, that is, clothing issued to the seamen. The cost price of articles of that description has risen greatly, but it has not been thought expedient to raise the price of those issued to the seamen, and, in consequence, there is on the face of the estimates the sum of 197,000l., which is the estimated difference between the cost price to the public and the lower price at which they are to be sold to the seamen. Then, again, as to continuous service. This principle was adopted last Session, with the full consent of Parliament, that men entering for a period of years not less than ten should receive a higher rate of pay, on account of the permanent hold which the country would possess over their services by the abandonment of the right which men hitherto had of claiming their discharge at the end of five years' service. That higher rate of pay has acted as an inducement, and it is highly gratifying to me to be enabled to inform the Committee, that at this moment nearly 20,000 seamen and first-class boys have availed themselves of this higher rate of pay, and this will form before long, I believe, the best reserve on which the country can rely for a permanent naval force.

I have also to state that we have added, within the last three years, nearly 4,000 men to the marines. I cannot too strongly impress on the Committee my earnest desire, the result of experience and of reflection, that this amount of 16,000 marines should, under any state of circumstances, whether of peace or of war, be considered by Parliament as the permanent force to be maintained. I am quite satisfied that this force is the nucleus from which a fleet can be formed in the shortest time and with the greatest certainty. There are no men who, on the whole, are of such inestimable value. They are trained as gunners, they are perfect as soldiers, they have been taught with success the light infantry exercise, they are now acting as such in connexion with Lord Raglan's army, and as to fitting out ships, they are so expert that there is a slackness on the part of seamen to enter until the marines on board have performed the heaviest portion of the work of fitting out. The marines are, therefore, perfect soldiers, accomplished sailors—their merits cannot be too highly extolled or valued, and I am quite satisfied that it is most conducive to the welfare of the naval service, and, consequently, to the safety of the State, that this should be regarded as the permanent force, and I hope that Parliament will not, even in a time of peace, hastily diminish the number of marines, and that every Government, judging from past experience, will be slow to reduce this force of 16,000 men, which has required such great exertions to raise, and which we have so successfully trained, and which, I repeat, I am satisfied is the most valuable addition to the naval forces of this country at all times and in all circumstances. Upon the other heads I have explained, so far as is necessary at present to do, the excess of Vote 1 in the number of men. I have shown that, for 231,000l., you will obtain an increase of 6,000 sailors and 500 marines. The next excess arises upon Vote 2, for provisions. That is easily explained by the increased number of men to be employed—not less than 9,000; and, in addition, there has been a material rise in the prices of articles which mainly constitute the provisioning of the Navy—salt provisions, fresh meat, and spirits—the rise upon which articles has been nearly 18 per cent. These two circumstances, therefore, account for this increase. The next Vote in which there is an increase is Vote 8, for wages to artificers, &c., employed in Her Majesty's establishments at home. That excess arises mainly from an addition of 800 shipwrights, which, on account of the war, it has been thought fit to make to the establishments at home, and also from the rise in wages paid to labourers arising from the high prices of provisions, and perhaps still more from the urgent necessity for the prompt execution of works indispensably necessary for carrying on the war, which has rendered it expedient not only to increase the number of shipwrights, but also not to permit them any longer to work by day work, but to introduce task, without any limitation of the amount of work they might be able to perform. This has enabled us, with great expedition, to fit out a very large number of ships, and, considering the work which has been done, and the rapidity with which it has been executed, I hope the increase of 71,000l. will not be thought excessive by the Committee. I now come to the principal excess in the Vote for the ensuing year, as compared with that for the past year, which will be found in Vote 10, for stores for the building, outfit, and repairs of the fleet, and for the purchase and building of ships by contract in merchant dockyards. The excess in this Vote mainly consists of the following items—With regard to stores, prices have risen in some of the most important materials. I will illustrate this by five articles—timber, hemp, canvas, copper, and iron. I should state that under these heads we cover, if I mistake not, somewhere about 480,000l. of the entire excess of 1,088,000l. and that of that sum a very large portion is to be traced to the purchases of hemp which the Board of Admiralty have thought it expedient to make. It has always appeared to me of the last importance that this great naval country should be emancipated from its dependence on the Baltic for its exclusive supply of hemp. Italy produces hemp of very superior quality as compared with Baltic hemp, and the Board of Admiralty has had an opportunity of purchasing a very large quantity of Italian hemp at a lower price than Baltic hemp, a quantity quite sufficient for all the estimated requirements of the naval service for twelve months to come. This hemp will be supplied from Italy alone, and we shall thus be altogether emancipated from our dependence on the Baltic for hemp. The material, too, is of a quality, judging from our own limited experience, and still more relying on the experience of our naval ally—I mean France—vastly superior to Baltic hemp. I think the Committee will agree that an expenditure on a large scale, in order to develope the Italian market for hemp, was a provident expenditure on the part of the Admiralty. The other items to which I refer arise from the circumstance of the war. At this moment we have substituted in the Black Sea for ten sail of the line, consisting entirely, with one exception, of sailing ships, six sail of the line, one a three-decker, another of 100 guns on two decks, and four other ships of the largest class, all propelled by steam power; and it is not intended by the Government to send any sailing ships whatever to the Baltic. Our experience has taught us that the intermixture of screw and sailing ships is not conducive to the interests of the service. They cannot be manœuvred together. The Commander in Chief, not using the same arm, but having to consider the use, first, of the sailing ships, and then of the screw ships, is baffled in his arrangements, and the efficiency of the fleet is consequently materially affected. It is intended to send into the Baltic in the ensuing year vessels propelled by steam alone, and I hope before six weeks or two months are over twenty sail of the line, propelled by steam, will be ready to resume operations in that quarter. Considering the scale of those operations, the consumption of coal must be enormous. The expense, therefore, is great, though experience shows that the expense is not so great having regard to the superiority of the screw over sailing vessels. I have already told you that at the end of the French war we had 147,000 sailors and marines. I ask you only on the present occasion to have 70,000 sailors and marines. At the end of the French war, when we had really not an enemy on the sea, nor a rival, we had in commission somewhere about 100 or 110 sail of the line. According to the proposition which I now make, we shall not have above forty-six or perhaps fifty sail of the line, but I believe the smaller force, with a smaller number of men, but with all the appliances of modern art and science, will be found no less efficacious to sustain the honour of this country either for the purposes of offence or defence. And if that be so, although the proportion of expenditure may be heavy in the purchase of machinery, in the maintenance of machinery, and the substitution of an artificial propelling power for a natural one, yet, on the whole, my belief is, that, notwithstanding the extra expenditure, the balance of advantage even on the lower ground of expense will be found to be in favour of modern science and modern improvement. The excess of cost for coal is estimated at 500,000l. That may appear alarming, but it must be remembered that in the Black Sea we are rapidly substituting steam-vessels only for a force mainly consisting of sailing vessels, and, as I have stated, we intend to send to the Baltic twenty sail of the line, which will form part of a fleet of 100 vessels, all propelled by steam. This brings me to another explanation of this heavy expenditure. France and England have come to a mutual agreement to prepare for operations in the Baltic five floating batteries, twenty gun-boats, and ten mortar-boats, making together ten floating batteries, forty gun-boats, and twenty mortar-boats, all heavily armed, and of light draught, and all propelled by steam. In concert with France—happily our ally, no longer our rival, except in the honest and earnest endeavour to bring this contest to an honourable close by increased exertions—we have during the winter been preparing this immense armament. Parliament, in its generosity, voted a large sum to meet this expenditure, but a considerable amount for steam-engines and the construction of vessels still remains outstanding; and, having mentioned the increase of the Vote for the purchase of stores and coals, the residue of excess is made up of 650,000l. for steam machinery, and 350,000l. still outstanding for the building of floating batteries, mortar-boats, and gun-vessels, to which I have already adverted. The 650,000l. for steam machinery will not only be applied to vessels already launched and forming part of the naval force to be employed in the Baltic and the Black Sea, but it is proposed, in the course of the ensuing year, to launch five or six line-of-battle ships and frigates, of a most powerful description, for which steam machinery will be supplied under the Vote which I now ask. Therefore, you will observe, steps have been taken not only to increase the efficiency of the force now afloat, but to meet any reverses, should they occur—and reverses in war can never be considered as avoidable. They will occur, and precautions are taken by having ships of equal capacity and equal power to meet any loss which, in the course of the coming year, may be sustained. The next Vote of which there is any excess is Vote 11, for new works. The sum of that excess is 188,000l., partly to be traced to a new bakery at Deptford, rendered necessary by the large demand for the supply of biscuits to the fleets. The new mode of construction has so added to the length of ships of war as to render necessary the lengthening of the docks at Portsmouth, Chatham, and Sheerness, the expense of which is considerable; and there is also a sum expended an works at Keyham to expedite the completion of the factories there for the construction and repair of steamers of war.

Now, Sir, I have gone through briefly the principal heads of excess in the Votes of the ensuing year as contrasted with the Votes of the past, and this will probably form the effective expenditure. It will be satisfactory to the Committee to hear that what is termed the dead weight of the Navy is progressively diminishing. In 1831, when my attention was first directed to these matters, the half-pay of the Navy was 878,000l. For the current year, 1854, it is only 696,000l., showing a decrease of 182,000l. Then, too, with regard to civil pensions. In 1834, I had the honour of introducing a measure for the purpose of effecting considerable reductions in that branch. The difference is very sensible, and it will become more and more so. In 1834, the civil pensions of the Navy amounted to 230,000l. This year we ask only for 149,000l., showing a decrease, which is progressive, of 81,000l. I am warned, by recent indisposition, that I shall not find it easy to continue these remarks, even if the Committee should kindly bear with me; but I thought it my duty to appear this evening for the purpose, however imperfectly, of stating the questions now to be submitted to you with regard to the Navy expenditure. It has been said, and said truly, that to bring this war to a speedy and honourable conclusion every effort which this country can make is indispensable. I would have the Committee bear in mind we are making war on a Sovereign whose empire is great and remarkable on account of its being almost unassailable. We are carrying on that war in the neighbourhood of his resources and at a distance from our own. We have carried that war into his country—a country almost destitute of provisions—and we are carrying it on in the dead of winter in the Black Sea, which is a sea without a harbour. These are great strains on our naval power. It may be asked, what have you done with regard to your large expenditure for the Navy? Now, I really must say that, on the whole, the operations in the Baltic, as they were conducted last year, appear to me to deserve the approbation of the House. Bomarsund, a most important naval station, fortified strongly, and bearing marks of an intention to carry that system of fortification to a much greater extent, has been destroyed. The great naval arsenal of Cronstadt, close to the capital of the Emperor of Russia, was visited by a force inferior to the force there stationed. Battle was repeatedly offered, and as repeatedly declined. Up to the last moment Sweaborg, with nine sail-of- the-line, was blockaded by an inferior force of frigates only. Never were operations more successful, displaying more gallantry, more discipline, than the operations in the Baltic. In that sea not a ship was lost, and a most effective blockade was kept up, a blockade that displayed the energy, skill, and gallantry of English officers and men, and the pressure brought to bear upon the enemy was, I believe, by no means slight. Then, also, I am bound to say, with reference to the conduct of the Navy everywhere, that it has been most satisfactory. You have a commerce covering every sea, and extending to the most remote parts of the globe, and I am not aware that a single merchant ship has fallen into the hands of the enemy. I hope and believe that, as you have always done, so you will now have reason to depend upon the naval service for the support you have a right to expect. The naval service is the spear and the shield of the country, it is the weapon of attack and the buckler of defence, it is the rock upon which we may build our hopes of safety without fear of disappointment. This nation has never failed to regard that service with the partiality and confidence it deserves, and you, as faithful representatives of the people, will never do anything to injure that service. You will require a strict account of expenditure from those who administer its affairs, but you will do nothing to impair its efficiency; and I am satisfied that, in so doing, you will best provide for the national interests and the national security. I now beg to propose a Vote of 79,099l., to defray the excess of expenditure over the Estimates of last year.


said, he did not intend to oppose the Estimates which had been laid before the House by the right hon. Baronet, for ever since the commencement of the war he had always expressed his opinion that every facility should be afforded to the Government for successfully carrying it on, and for bringing it to a speedy and honourable termination. He wished, however, to make a few observations on what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet had referred to the number of men required to carry on the present war, as compared with the number required to carry on the last; but he did not think that there was any credit to be taken because the number required for the present war fell short of that required in the last. The duties of the navy were very slight now, compared with what was then the case. Now we had only to shut up the enemy's ships in two seas; then we had to protect our commerce and our colonies in every part of the globe. The right hon. Baronet had taken great credit for only requiring 6,800 men more than last year, but really, unless some greater use was to be made of our naval force, no justification could be offered even for that increase. The right hon. Baronet had taken credit for the reduction of the half-pay and retired pensions list, but he could not join with him in expressing any approbation on that account. What was the state of the half-pay list at the present time? The Committee must bear in mind that we had at present only seventeen admirals actively employed, whereas there were no fewer than 270 on half-pay; and the number of admirals was actually greater now than it was last year by nine. There was, in fact, an admiral for almost every ship we had afloat, for he doubted whether we had so many as 270 in commission. In like manner, there were 124 captains employed, while there were 480 upon half-pay; 127 commanders employed, and 897 upon half-pay; 642 lieutenants employed, and 983 upon half-pay. In other words, there were sixteen admirals on half-pay for every one on active service; and there were more than five times as many captains and commanders idle as employed. The wages of all the officers, seamen, and marines in the present Vote was 2,885,000l., and the half-pay, pensions, and allowances to widows and children amounted to 1,254,000l., or nearly one-half of the wages of the officers and men on service. With respect to the new works, he thought that some of them were not of such pressing importance, and might be dispensed with for the present. The right hon. Baronet had referred to the proceedings in the Baltic last summer; but if no more was to be expected from the fleet we were going to send out this year, he (Mr. Williams) thought that the Committee were about to sanction a vast amount of very unnecessary expenditure. As to Bomarsund, that was not taken by the fleet, but by the French army which had been sent out, not to accomplish that object, but a great deal more. At the same time he gave the Admiralty great credit for the energy it had displayed in fitting out the fleet last year, but he hoped that those men who had been selected from the coast-guard at a great increase of cost would be sent back, and that the Government would be able this year to man the fleet with sailors at the regular pay. Finally, he trusted that the Admiralty would carefully look into the subject of coaling the Black Sea fleet. It was re- ported that coals could be procured on the coast of Asia, at a very short distance from Sebastopol, for 7s. a ton, and that it lay, some within a quarter of a mile from the coast, and none of it more than eight miles from the sea. Any other remarks that he might have to make he would offer when the different Votes came before the Committee.


said, that in rising to address the Committee on the important subject of the Navy Estimates, he could not abstain from expressing his regret at the absence of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). The right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty had drawn the attention of the Committee to the merits of the marines. As marines no one could rate them more highly than he (Captain Scobell) did; but when the right hon. Baronet stated that they were accomplished sailors as well as soldiers, he begged to demur to that proposition. The marine never went aloft, and he could neither hand, reef, nor steer; but in their own duties they were well deserving the praises that were bestowed upon them. He thought the Government were wise in proposing to have six screw line-of-battle ships in the Black Sea. Last year there was really but one, the Agamemnon, and although Sir Edmund Lyons would be an admirable sailor in any vessel, there was no doubt that his efficiency had been considerably increased by having that fine vessel for his flag-ship. In the course of their discussions a few nights ago upon proposed reforms in the army, they had been told about a modern Hercules sweeping away the Horse Guards. He could only hope when the modern Hercules appeared, that he would strike with his club at the Admiralty. He did not think that we ever had had a better political First Lord than at the present time; but the system was thoroughly bad. A noble Lord, who had had some official experience, had stated in another place, that if the administration of the army were assimilated to that of the navy, it would become a hotbed of jobbery and bribery. He did not go quite so far as to say that, but he did complain strongly of the system of promotion in the navy, and he recommended the First Lord to abandon that system and to determine to advance merit, and merit alone. This course had been commenced in the dockyards, and in the civil service; and if it were carried out in the navy it would lead to the promotion of active, energetic, and skilful men. At present four-fifths of the officers were ashore, not because their services had not been offered, but because the lists were all too large. There were actually lieutenants of as many as thirty-six, and of even fifty years' standing. The fault was that too many were allowed to enter as cadets. He was sorry to see that as many as 200 or 300 cadets had been entered this very year. [Sir J. GRAHAM: 150.] The fruit of the system was that some of the best officers in the service were pining in neglect, while those who had family and Parliamentary interest were rapidly advanced over them. There were men who had never lost a month after they were eligible for promotion, whereas others of thirty six or fifty years' standing were never promoted at all after the first step. He (Captain Scobell) asked nothing for himself or for anybody else; but he said that, if the First Lord would put an end to the present system he would lay the Navy under the greatest possible obligations to him. It had been stated that the Baltic fleet had been badly manned and worse disciplined. He believed that some of those ships had been badly manned, and he knew that it was very difficult to bring badly-manned ships into good discipline. A number of landsmen and men from the coastguard and dockyards were huddled together and called a "ship's crew." A gallant officer had observed to him that however much pressed, he would not have taken the command of some of those ships, because he was persuaded that if he had gone into action with them he should have lost his reputation. He would strongly recommend that bounties should be given to sailors as well as to soldiers. Bounties were given to the marines, to the artillery, and to all other classes in the army, and there was no reason why a similar inducement should not be given to the sailor. The good effect of raising the bounty had been experienced in the case of the army, and he could not but regard it as an act of craziness to withhold it from the sailor. He had moved an Address for an Order of Merit, and he rejoiced that it was about to be instituted, attainable by men of all ranks. He was convinced that it would act as a great stimulus directly it became known, and he trusted that it would be speedily adopted and promptly awarded. A great deal had been said as to the state of the harbour at Balaklava, and he, as a naval officer, could not conceive why such confusion had pre- vailed there, for though the harbour was small yet the water was smooth, and the ships could lie by the side of each other. In the case of the Prince, he should like to know under whose superintendence she was loaded, so that the wrong things were placed uppermost, and when she had entered the harbour with a most precious freight of clothing for the soldiers, some one ordered her out, and who gave that order? [Sir J. GRAHAM: She never entered the harbour.] Why had she not entered then? She was there several days before she lost an anchor and cable or two and was wrecked. He trusted that this country would not, in carrying on the war with vigour, attempt to imitate the Continental Powers with regard to the numerical amount of the army. It was impossible that this country could compete with them in numbers; but there was no reason why the army should not be kept in a state of efficiency.


said, he thought the complaints of both the hon. Gentlemen who had just spoken with regard to the lists of officers were unfounded. The Admiralty had adopted a system of regulations under which officers who were too far advanced in years to be capable of active exertion were placed on the retired list; while, on the other hand, officers now reached their flag at an age while they were in full vigour. As regarded the patronage of the navy, he must deny, in the strongest manner, that promotions were now made on account of private interest, and not with a view to the public service. Being individually unconcerned in the matter, he could bear witness to the fact that his right hon. Friend at the head of the Admiralty was not in any degree liable to such a charge; that in all the promotions which he had made he had selected those officers whose promotion would in his opinion be best for the public service, without reference to any personal, political, or private considerations. After the Government had adopted the plan universally recommended of selecting the younger officers in preference to the older ones, it was natural for the latter to complain that they had been passed over for personal or political reasons; but he repeated that there was no foundation whatever for such a supposition. His hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Scobell) complained that too large a number of naval cadets had been appointed. There again he was entirely mistaken, for the number was not sufficient. As to his hon. and gallant Friend's complaint that no bounty was offered to seamen, he would ask whether such a complaint was reasonable when at that moment they had a larger number of seamen even without bounty than was sanctioned by Parliament. The excess certainly was not large enough to call for a vote of censure, but the fact was that there were forty-four more seamen in the navy than were voted. The hon. and gallant Gentleman's remarks about Balaklava, and the loss of the Prince, should be a warning to persons against relying too much on reports which come from the Crimea. The hon. and gallant Gentleman was entirely mistaken in supposing that the Prince went into harbour. She landed the regiment that went out in her; but as the harbour was, when she arrived, full of ships which were unloading, it became necessary that she should wait outside until her turn came to enter, and it was owing to that cause, and to the loss of two of her anchors, that she was not in a situation to weather the gale. He must observe, too, that the loss of the Prince could not be considered a reproach to the Royal Navy, as the captain of that vessel belonged to the merchant service.


said, he was desirous of saying a few words on behalf of a deserving and meritorious class of men in the navy, who he thought had of late been somewhat ill-treated, and who had not been mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Bath—he alluded to the masters. The House was aware of the onerous duties of the masters in the navy, and, though in the Black Sea their services had not been so much required, in the Baltic the services of this class had been called forth in a very distinguished manner, and yet not a single promotion had been conferred upon them. One of the masters, Mr. Ball, had particularly distinguished himself, and had been mentioned in the despatches. He believed that the omission of this branch of the service had created considerable disappointment to that arm of the service. He trusted that the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne), in his ardent zeal for the improvement of the public service, would not overlook the claims of this very meritorious branch of it.


said, that the subject just alluded to by the hon. Member was under the consideration of the Admiralty. A good deal had been said about the stowage of the unfortunate ship the Prince. Now, a Committee had been ap- pointed by the Government to inquire into the loss of that ill-fated vessel, and he would read an extract from the Report at which this Committee arrived. The extract in question was to the effect that the evidence adduced not only disproved the allegation that the loading of the ship was grossly neglected, but also established the fact that the captain of the vessel had no ground whatever for stating, that shot, shell, and gunpowder had been placed on the top of the medical stores. With regard to the transport service, it should be remembered that there could be no comparison made between the state of the transport service during the last war and the improved manner in which it was now conducted. The Committee might depend upon it that there was little to complain of with regard to this branch of the service.


said, that in the course of last Session he had ventured to suggest to the First Lord of the Admiralty that bounties should be offered to induce able seamen to enter the navy—a measure which, he thought, would be productive of very beneficial results. The consequence of such bounties not being given, he regretted to say, had been that the Baltic fleet was anything but well manned. There was a very marked distinction between the naval and military services in this respect, which must, he thought, tend to excite disgust in the navy, unless it were allowed to participate in the advantages enjoyed by the sister service. The bounty given in the army averaged from 6l. to 10l. per man, and the soldier also received his clothing free. The right hon Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty said that clothing was furnished to the seamen at a cheaper rate than its prime cost; but why, he asked, should he not be presented with it, on entering the service, in the same way as the soldier was immediately on his volunteering for the army? The same stamp of property might easily be placed on the sailors' clothing as was impressed on the uniform of the soldier. But the army possessed other advantages over the navy; and if this inequality were redressed there could be no doubt that it would afford great satisfaction to the latter service. Another point that had been referred to in that discussion related to the naval-coast volunteers. He saw an item of 50,000l. in the estimates of the last and the present year for these coast volunteers. He thought it would be in the right hon. Baronet's recollection that he had previously pressed on his attention the propriety of establishing a naval reserve, and the right hon. Gentleman had expressed his intention to introduce a measure to effect that object. He wished therefore to ask, if the increase of 20,000 men now proposed was designed to form the reserve which it was meant to establish? [Sir J. GRAHAM: It would be the commencement of it.] He supposed that they would be kept as a mere coastguard in England and Scotland. Another item was for the additional pay of petty officers in the coastguard service. Now, he asked, if these coastguardsmen, when serving on board ship, were to be allowed to receive double pay, that was, pay as both coastguardsmen and as seamen at one and the same time? That would be unjust towards the other seamen who were doing the same duty at sea as these coastguardsmen. He thought that, when we had these additional men for a naval reserve, if the coastguard were not required for the navy, they should be allowed to return to their original employment. He had made these remarks, in the hope that the right hon. Baronet would consider them worthy of attention, and he believed that if we granted the same indulgences to the navy as were shown to the army, we should be able to secure the services of good and efficient seamen for Her Majesty's Navy.


said, he always listened with respect to suggestions emanating from the hon. and gallant Member. As to the comparative pay of the army and navy, the remuneration of the sailor was, relatively, infinitely higher than that of the soldier. Whatever was given to the latter in the shape of bounty was reimbursed by hint in the form of stoppages of pay on his first employment; whereas the sailor, from the moment he entered the service, received a higher scale of pay, which was liable to no such stoppages or reduction. The hon. and gallant Member had been misinformed if he supposed that coastguardsmen serving as sailors drew pay both as coastguardsmen and as sailors. The real state of the case was, that the coastguardsman, when on board ship, was continued in the enjoyment of his coastguard pay, but he received nothing in his capacity as a sailor. Every disposition was evinced to allow the coastguard to return to service on shore, but the bargain made with them bound them to serve on board ship when required in time of war, and a discretion must of course be vested in the ruling power to determine when their services at sea could or could not be dispensed with.


wished to know whether that most useful class of officers the boatswains received any special reward for lengthened services, and whether their widows were entitled to a pension; whether it was the practice of the Admiralty, in making purchases of machinery, to obtain what they required through the medium of public tender or by applying to the private establishments which had the largest number of skilled workmen, and could do the work in the shortest and most efficient manner; and also whether the Government did not think it would be highly beneficial to introduce private workmen into the dockyards with a view to the adoption of improvements?


said, that abuses had crept in under the former system of granting pensions to the widows of these officers, and therefore an increase of pay had been allowed to the men in lieu of it. The practice of placing small deposits in savings banks was fostered by every means in the Admiralty's power. As to the manufacture of the machinery required for the service, the Admiralty found by experience that there were only six or eight firms in this country that could execute this description of work; and the system pursued, when new orders had to be given, was to issue private letters to each of those firms, informing them of the nature of the machinery that was demanded, and then to leave them to compete with each other for its construction.


said, he was exceedingly anxious to know whether any explanation could be offered of the extraordinary manner in which Odessa had been spared? He did not ask that question for the sake of embarrassing or censuring the Government, but a great deal of anxiety had been felt out of doors upon the point, and he thought Ministers ought to be obliged to him for giving them an opportunity of explaining it.


said, he had no difficulty in answering the hon. and learned Gentleman's question. On more than one occasion within the last six months the attention of the Commander in Chief in the Black Sea was drawn to the state of Odessa, and in the event of its being accessible by naval means an opinion was expressed that should the opportunity offer there should be no hesitation on the part of the Commander in Chief in exercising his full authority to order a hostile visitation. Of course the attack was left entirely to the discretion of the Admiral, as well as the ordering of the means by which it was to be carried out.


said, he had heard with much satisfaction the commendation of the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Layard) of the class of masters in the Navy. He was glad to see the Admiralty disposed to show them every consideration; as in 1847, by an Order in Council, they were rendered eligible to be promoted to the rank of Commander for distinguished services. He thought that a certain set of policemen for seamen should be established in each seaport.


said, he was surprised to hear that only twenty gunboats and five batteries were required for the Baltic and the Black Sea, especially when he considered the large number of similar vessels which Russia had at her disposal, and remembering that almost every Russian historian, while commenting upon the war between Sweden and Russia last century, dwelt upon the service and importance which gun-boats were in the contest. It was by means of these same gun-boats, he was informed by merchants in the City, that Russia was now enabled on the Danube to intercept the harvest of the last three years. Now, only imagine the importance it would be to us, as tending to reduce the cost of provisioning the army in the Crimea, if, instead of blockading the mouth of the river with a large flotilla, we had a sufficiency of small gun-boats to attack the enemy in his strongholds. He hoped, then, the statement of the right hon. Baronet was only a ruse to deceive the enemy, and that there were at least a hundred gun-boats in the course of construction.


said, he fully appreciated the value of gun-boats, particularly in the Baltic, but at the same time he must remind the hon. Member, that modern experience taught a very different lesson to that preached by the Russian historian; for although last year Russia had a considerable number of gunboats at her command in the Baltic, none of them were ever able to get within gunshot of any of our ships. With regard to the Black Sea, there was already a large number of vessels out there drawing but a small draught of water, and others were to be sent out. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman that it was of the last importance that not only the mouth, but the entire rout of the Danube should be kept open; but the obstruction did not depend so much upon the presence of Russian gun-boats as upon the circumstance that on the low left bank of the river there were land batteries of such great strength that no naval force of small vessels could clear it.


was understood to object to the destruction of the town of Odessa, as being an unfortified place.


said, that since the commencement of the war Odessa had been strongly fortified.


said, that as gun-boats would, no doubt, be found necessary to be used in the Baltic Sea, it was important to know that they could be constructed at a small expense at Constantinople, where there was a large yard for the building of such boats. With regard to Odessa, it was an unpardonable oversight that the Government should have suffered that port to remain untouched. He had warned them of the importance of disabling that port. It was the great resource of Russia in supplying its army in the Crimea with food; for they had large stores and warehouses, in which immense quantities of grain were deposited. Odessa formed a central point, from which Russia could communicate with her southern dominions. Had Odessa been destroyed last year, it would have prevented Russia from keeping up so large an army in the Crimea, as she would not have had the means of supplying them with food. It had been said that Odessa was strongly fortified. When the Tigers went there Odessa had no fortifications at all; there was scarcely a garrison, and the few batteries that were there might have been silenced in two or three hours. All the fortifications which it now possessed had been constructed since then. The object of our forbearance, it seemed, was to spare a large part of the town; but the consequence had been to allow Russia to erect strong fortifications and to pour thousands of men into the Crimea.


said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to a speech which he had seen published in an Aberdeen newspaper, in which the speaker seemed to rejoice at the fact, that an English ship had been beaten off Odessa by the Russians, and a sort of boast was made of the great gallantry shown by the enemy on that occasion. He must confess he was sorry that any person should be found in this country to plead for a town which formed one of the strongholds of the enemy.


said, the hon. and learned Member was under a total misconception of what he had said on the occasion referred to; and he must say that because he had elsewhere pleaded in favour of a defenceless town, he did not expect to be met on the floor of the House of Commons, and be told that because the Russians had exercised acts of cruelty upon our troops, therefore we ought to have made reprisals upon the unoffending inhabitants of Odessa.

Vote agreed to; as were also the following Votes.

(2.) 322,504l. Naval Expenditure beyond the Grants for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1855.

(3.) 70,000 Men (Sea Service).

(4.) 2,885,567l., Wages.

(5.) 1,374,081l., Victuals.

(6.) 140,469l., Admiralty Office.

(7.) 50,000l., Naval Coast Volunteers.

(8.) 51,676l., Scientific Branch.

(9.) 142,571l., Establishments at Home.

(10.) 26,919l., Establishments Abroad.

(11.) 1,102,222l., Wages to Artificers at Home.

(12.) 57,500l., Wages to Artificers Abroad.


said, he wished to know what were the circumstances under which the sum of 10,000l. for building a screw yacht for the Emperor of Japan was asked for?


said, he was glad the hon. and gallant Member had asked this question, as it gave him an opportunity of doing justice to a gallant Admiral on a distant station, who, in a most unassuming manner, but, at the same time, with great boldness of execution, had secured a very important advantage for this country. He alluded to Sir James Stirling, the admiral commanding on the China station, who, availing himself of an opportunity which offered, had visited Japan, where he was received in the most friendly manner, and had negotiated a treaty with the Government of the Emperor of Japan. whereby he had secured for Her Majesty's vessels the right of entry to certain ports for the purpose of refitting and victualling, the same right being also extended to all British merchant ships. That treaty was negotiated by Sir James Stirling on his own responsibility, and on being sent home for ratification it was entirely approved by Her Majesty's Government. Sir James Stirling, on sending home the treaty for ratification, had intimated to Her Majesty's Government that the present which the Committee was now asked to vote in the shape of a small steam yacht, would be very acceptable to the Emperor, and would be likely to tend to the establishment of friendly relations with his Government. The Committee would perceive the great importance of having a naval station so close to the Russian settlement at the mouth of the Amour, and he had no doubt that great advantages would be derived to this country from the treaty. Vote agreed to; as were also the two following Votes.

(13.) 2,928,304l., Naval Stores.

(14.) 567,568l., New Works, &c.

(15.) 62,100l. Medicines and Medical Stores.


said, that having visited the naval hospital at Therapia, he had the greatest pleasure in bearing his testimony to the efficient state of the hospital and the excellence of the arrangements, which certainly reflected credit on all concerned. He would also take that opportunity of calling attention to the difficulties attending the debarkation of the sick troops on their arrival in this country, which lie understood had not been met in all instances as they ought to have been. He trusted that the Admiralty would devise some means by which the invalids could be disembarked at once and sent on to their destination without being kept on shipboard, which, he believed, had been attended in some instances with fatal results.


said, he begged to express his great satisfaction at the testimony which the hon. Member had borne to the efficient state of the hospital at Therapia. The credit due must be attributed in a great measure to the excellent arrangements of Sir William Burnett, who had charge of this department. With regard to the debarkation of the sick troops, arrangements had been made for keeping open one ward at Haslar Hospital for their reception.


said, he thought great credit was due to Dr. Rees, of the Britannia, who had organised the hospital at Therapia.


said, he wished to call the attention of the Admiralty to the fact that the Harbinger and other vessels carrying invalids, had, as he was informed, on putting into port, been ordered to put to sea again without landing the wounded soldiers on board. He hoped that nothing of the sort would be allowed to occur again.


said, that the Admiralty had no power of taking any steps with regard to these invalids on their arrival in port, except on communication from the medical authorities. The noble Lord, however, at the head of the Government, in his statement that evening, had intimated that the whole subject of the medical authorities and their connection with the Secretary of War was now under consideration.


said, the ship to which he referred was telegraphed as having arrived at Liverpool. When the communication was made to the Admiralty they said it was no business of theirs. A communication was then made to the Horse Guards, who sent it back to the Admiralty. What he complained of was, that from the want of unity of system our poor wounded soldiers were driven from pillar to post, because there was no competent authority to deal with them upon their arrival, he was, therefore, glad to hear that the attention of the Government had been called to the subject.


said, he had seen it stated that a hospital was to be established at Smyrna. Now, he wished to remind the Government that Smyrna was not a healthy place. The European inhabitants—the Franks—left Smyrna during the summer, and went to villages in the neighbourhood to seek a better climate. He would suggest that Rhodes might be a more preferable situation for a hospital.


said, the subject had been most carefully considered by the Government. During the cold months Smyrna was healthy, but about the month of April, he believed, it was frequently visited by dangerous fevers. It would not, therefore, be prudent to erect a permanent establishment there, by which considerable expense would be incurred, and the Government had every reason to believe that Mitylene or Rhodes might perhaps be preferable situations for a hospital.


said, the barracks at Smyrna were in good condition, and as they were situated close to the seashore, if they were applied to the purposes of a hospital, the difficulty of disembarking the sick and wounded, and conveying them to the hospital—a difficulty which was experienced at Scutari and Constantinople in consequence of the distance of the hospitals from the shore—would be avoided.


hoped that, for the satisfaction of the country, the Government would state that some measures had been taken with respect to the improvement of the hospital at Balaklava.


said, that the Commission which he had mentioned at an early period of the evening, whose duty it would be to investigate and improve the sanitary arrangements of all the hospitals, would proceed to Balaklava as well as to Scutari.


said, he begged to inquire whether Sir John Forbes had been appointed the head medical officer of the hospital at Balaklava? [Sir J. GRAHAM: No.] I am very glad to hear it.


said, he had seen it stated that Dr. Lawson had been appointed to one of the hopitals—he believed to the hospital at Rhodes. He wished to know whether it was true, after what had passed in the Crimea, that Dr. Lawson was still placed in a highly responsible position?

Vote agreed to; as were also

(16.) 73,086l., Miscellaneous Services.

(17.) On the Vote of 635,497l. for half-pay, reserved half-pay, and retirement to officers of the Navy and Royal Marines,


complained that the navy had no retirements of full pay under any circumstances, while in the army, and the marines there were retirements of full pay. In the army, too, there were constantly promotions on half-pay.


Sir, I am desirous of calling the attention of the First Lord of the Admiralty to Her Majesty's Order in Council of the 19th May, 1846, authorising the promotion of masters to the rank of commander for service of distinguished merit. In the late promotions for distinguished service I looked in vain for a promotion of this character, though I obtained, through the medium of a newspaper, the copy of a General Order issued by the late Commander in Chief of the Baltic fleet, conveying, by command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, commendation from the Board in favour of this class of officers for their conduct in having navigated their respective ships in safety through difficult and dangerous navigation; I therefore ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it be the intention of the Board of Admiralty to confer a more substantial mark of their approbation on officers of this valuable and deserving class. I likewise desire to call the attention of the First Lord of the Admiralty to the present system of clothing the navy, which is, in my opinion, very objectionable. We now have a standing navy, which has reached a number of scarcely less than 20,000, and it is clearly worth while to place it on a more respectable footing in appearance, and this, it occurs to me, might be done by giving the continuous service men a distinguishing clothing, and by adding a clause to the Mutiny Act making persons purchasing seamen's clothes liable to punishment, as in the case of soldiers' necessaries. A seaman is now no sooner clothed and allowed to go on shore than he is liable to be tempted to sell his clothes, or exchange them for others far inferior, which pass muster when he returns on board, but leave him in rags in a few days. When we recollect that these men form the chief defence of the country, and consider how injurious is the present system to their comforts and interests of the service men of irregular habits such as these, constantly brought on board from leave, and charged with straggling money, and obliged to complete their clothes, becoming callous, and having no pay to receive, lose their attachment to the service, and though this has been the result of their own irregular con duct, it only proves how desirable it is to substitute prevention. This might be done by having a force, termed Naval Police, at each port of Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheerness, Chatham, and Woolwich, composed of about a dozen men, each eligible for appointment as Masters at Arms or Ships Corporals, having a local knowledge of the ports, by which to guard and watch seamen when on shore, and having the power to take them on board their respective ships on witnessing irregularities; for many seamen, I believe, are encouraged to break their leave by designing men for the purpose of obtaining straggling money.


said, that the subjects named were under consideration, and in respect to the subject of clothing the navy, making penal the purchase of seamen's clothes, as indicated.


said, that the number of Admirals on the list was not diminished this year. On the contrary, it was greater by nine. Many of those officers, no doubt, had rendered services to their country, but a great many haul never rendered any service at all. In one instance a man bad been made an Admiral who never had been one hour at sea in his life.


said, that many naval officers who were capable of rendering service to their country, and who were anxious to do so, of whom he (Admiral Walcott) was one, had been placed on the half-pay list, and that it had been their calamity and misfortune that they had not been called into active service.

Vote agreed to; as were also

(18.) 469,222l., Military Pensions and Allowances.

(19.) 149,558l., Civil Pensions and Allowances.

(20). 5,181,465l., Transport Service.


said, he felt it his duty, in moving this particular Vote, which was to a very large amount, to make a short statement to the Committee bearing upon a matter adverted to by his noble Friend at the head of the Government in the early part of the evening. It had been his (Sir J. Graham's) duty, when at the head of the Admiralty in 1832, to abolish several subordinate boards, and among others the Transport Board. In making the arrangement which he then submitted to Parliament, he had foreseen that upon the recurrence of war it would not be possible for the victualling department and the duties of the transport board to remain united. Indeed, he had always contemplated the necessity of a subdivision, and the experience of the last nine months had convinced him that what he considered possible in a time of peace was in a time of war impracticable. He had, therefore, before the resignation of Lord Aberdeen's Government, made from the Admiralty a distinct proposition to the Treasury to reconstitute the transport board to exist only during the war, and upon a scale modest certainly as appeared by the amount of the Estimate. He proposed appointing to that board a chairman, two directors, and a secretary. He had thought it necessary that a service having under its control so large a sum as 4,000,000l. or 5,000,000l. in a year should be intrusted to a board rather than to a single individual, though in effecting the change he had done so without intending to impeach in the slightest degree the integrity of the gentleman to whom the duties of this particular department had hitherto been confided. With regard to the constitution of the transport board, he had thought it most desirable to place at its head a gentleman who should be a captain in the navy, and to associate with him a gentleman connected with the merchant service, as well as a gentleman conversant with the details of the army. He had every reason to believe that a board so constituted, and superintended by a Lord of the Admiralty, would be a great additional security for the proper working of the service, and that it would cause the business to be better and more promptly transacted, and with more minute attention to details. He had now a few words to say in reference to the large amount of the Vote. The services which had been performed during the last eleven months were most extensive and important. They had conveyed to the East, generally speaking in steam-transports, between 50,000 and 60,000 British troops, 20,000 tons of provisions, 6,000 horses, and 14,000 French troops; and they had also conveyed 12,000 French troops to the Baltic; making, in all, about 84,000 troops and 6,000 horses, in addition to stores to an enormous amount. There were at present in the pay of the British public somewhere about 200 transports, most of them steamers of the largest size, with a tonnage of 200,000 tons. They are about to convey 15,000 men from Genoa to the East, and would be employed in keeping up that force permanently to the extent of 15,000 men; and they had also been employed in conveying between 30,000 and 40,000 Turkish troops from Varna to Eupatoria, besides undertaking to provide that force with provisions from Constantinople. The expenditure for which this Vote was required was an expenditure most indispensable and necessary. France naturally looked to England for assistance in the present contest, and while our army and the reinforcements at our command were to a small amount as compared with France, we had the advantage of increased facilities for their conveyance by sea. That was an assistance which we had it in our power to render, which France expected, and which we were bound to give. Taking all these matters into consideration, he thought no complaint could be made of the increased expenditure in this department.


said, it was well known that the department over which the right hon. Baronet so ably presided had sent out from this country a very large transport service; but what became of them when they went out? It was well known that many of the sailing transports were lying idle at Balaklava, when the wants of the army required their services, and when they required animals, the possession of which would have enabled them to get up their shot and shell to the scene of action. He trusted, however, that the right hon. Baronet would be able, by the means which he proposed to adopt, to make this department really efficient, and he begged to thank him for the statement he had made.


said, the right hon. Baronet had informed them that he had constituted a transport service board. His own opinion was, that single management was generally more advantageous, being more economical and efficient than the management of a board; and he did not see anything in this service to make it an exception. He wished to ask, however, whether in the event of peace, the right hon. Baronet had taken any measure to secure that the functions of this board should cease?—or was it a board that would hang as a heavy dead weight on the country after the termination of the war.


said, he was much obliged to his right hon. Friend for asking this question, and enabling him to give an explanation. On principle he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman. He was not generally in favour of the constitution of boards, and he thought that individual responsibility, properly superintended by a superior authority, constituted the best rule in the service, and upon that rule the whole of the subordinate departments of the Admiralty were based. He had stated, however, to the Committee the peculiarity of this department. Instead of contracts being entered into for an enormous amount, virtually binding the Executive Government, on the part of a single officer, involving temptations to improvident bargains—to use the mildest term—the best security for the public was that there should be more than one party to such transactions. Therefore, considering this an exceptional case, he adhered to the opinion that more than one person ought to be consulted, and that those persons should be men of practical knowledge, acquainted with all those details appertaining to this particular service, which an officer in the Queen's service could not well understand. Then there was the question as to the tenure of office of these gentlemen. The warrant appointing them to office bore on the face of it that they held office during pleasure, or till the termination of the war, so that, should peace be happily established, this transport board would be at an end, and their duties merge into that of the general service.

In answer to Mr. G. DUNDAS,


said, that when Sir Edmund Lyons was entrusted with the supreme command in the Black Sea, it was thought desirable that the sole and exclusive control over every branch of the naval and transport service should be exercised by him as the naval Commander in Chief. He was informed that he had the complete command over every branch of the naval service in that sea; that it would be necessary the work should be done; and that he would have the choice of the officers he might employ, and, when dissatisfied with their services, the power of removing them. At the same time he was informed that the Government would look to him for the satisfactory discharge of all the duties that required to be done.


said, he wished to know if he was to understand that the absolute control of the whole transport of soldiers rested with Sir Edmund Lyons?


was understood to say that the responsibility lay with Sir Edmund Lyons in the last resort.


said, he saw two sums of 4,206,697l. for "freight of ships on monthly pay, including arrears of pay or transports to be discharged for 1855–6," and 2,610,200l. as the amount voted under the same item in the navy estimates for 1854–5. As the Vote for the present year was worded, he could not be sure how much was meant for arrears, and how much for the actual service of 1855–6.


said, that the words used in the Vote were those which had been used from time immemorial, and that the Vote of 4,206,697l. would cover everything estimated to be required under this head in 1855–6. If, however, there were any excess over the estimate, it would be reported by the Audit Office, and a supplementary estimate would be required in 1856.


said, he objected to the suspicious wording of the Vote. He was afraid that as the estimate was worded, moneys which ought to have been paid in 1854–5 might pass through the Audit Office under cover of this Vote.


said, he would consider before the Report was brought up, whether any alteration could be made in the terms of the Vote, so as to meet the objection of the right hon. Gentleman.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed.

The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.