said, he rose to move for a Copy of all Official Correspondence and Reports of the late Admiral Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Station, and of the late Admiral Superintendent of Malta Dockyard, relating to the proposed New Dock at Malta. He would take that occasion to say, that as far as he had been able to form an opinion, the work could not be constructed for anything like the sum estimated. The site selected was also wholly unsuitable. What was called the Marsa, at the end of Valetta harbour, would have to be deepened to the extent of twenty-five feet or thirty feet to make it available for the purpose which the Government had in view; and in order simply to dredge it to the necessary depth a sum of £135,000 would, he believed, be required. Beyond that there was to be a basin, the construction of which also would cost considerably more than the sum proposed, and he wished to know whether the plans had not been decided in opposition to the opinions of the Admirals on the Station and the other most competent authorities.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, the Government had undertaken the construction of the work to which the hon. Gentleman referred at the Marsa in preference to the French Creek, first of all, because they had the ground at the former place on their hands, and could commence operations at once. The dock, he might add, would, according to the estimate of the engineer whom the Government had sent out there—Mr. Scamp—be constructed for £50,000, of which sum the Maltese Government were to contribute £10,000. The basin was a matter altogether irrespective of the dock, and was connected with the general improvement of the harbour. In consequence of Sir W. Martin and Admiral Codrington having expressed doubts as to 1660 the propriety of making this dock, Sir F. Grey and his hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) visited Malta, and they had reported in its favour. As a great deal of the information upon which the Admiralty had acted had been drawn from the verbal reports of these officers, the correspondence would necessarily present an incomplete view of the case; and as it would also be inconvenient as a precedent to produce the confidential reports of officers to the head of a Department, he hoped that the hon. and gallant Officer would not press his Motion.
said, he thought that as the House of Commons had to vote the money for the work, it ought to have full information upon the subject.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that the documents moved for would not contain the whole case. It was on the report of Admiral Grey and Mr. Whitbread made verbally that the Admiralty had acted.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he would remind the noble Lord that the Motion included "all other Official Correspondence."
Of all Official Correspondence and Reports of the late Admiral Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Station, and of the late Admiral Superintendent of Malta Dockyard, relating to the proposed New Dock at Malta; and all other Official Correspondence bearing on the subject.