finding, on examination, that several of the papers ordered with a view to the motion of enquiry into the conduct of earl St. Vincent, and those particularly necessary to the vindication of the noble lord, had not been produced, moved that a return be made forthwith to the orders for an account of the ships ordered to be built by contract, the price paid, and the sums expended in the repairs of the said ships, particularly those of the ships Ajax and Achille; a copy of the statement of the master builder in his majesty's dock-yard. at Deptford, of the price of each article used in building ships of the line at the commencement of the year 1805; a report of the expense per ton of building 74-gun ships at Deptford in 1800 and 1805 respectively. The book called Doomsday Book, contained an account of the original cost of every ship in the navy, and the sums expended in repairs upon her. But as some difficulty was stated to exist with respect to the production of extracts from this book, his anxiety for the full investigation of the noble earl's conduct, would not allow him to insist upon the production of those he thought to be wished for in this case, he moved that the returns to the orders alluded to be made forthwith, and he wished the navy board to be called to account for their not having been produced before.
§ Mr. Jeffery
complained of the delays thrown in the way of the investigation of the noble earl's conduct. If the friends of the noble earl had attended to the papers as he had done, they would have seen the deficiencies, and have caused them to be timely supplied. As to the extracts from Doomsday Book, the title of that book was very apposite, for they could not be produced till doomsday. The book was ten years in arrear, and it would take twelve Months to make it up. He had no objec- 744 tion even now to defer his charges for a few days farther. But if papers were required which would take up two or three months in preparation, it was evident it was intended to prevent the charges from being ever brought forward.
appealed to the house, whether he could be chargeable with occasioning delay, in merely moving that the proper officers be called upon to produce the papers which had been already ordered. Had he moved for fresh documents, there might have been some shadow of ground for such a charge, though even then it alight have been sufficient to say that such papers were necessary; but he had now only moved, that the navy board do account for certain papers being withheld, and be ordered to furnish them forthwith; he knew Doomsday Book well, and was convinced, that something similar to it might be speedily produced: but he should wave its production, to Avoid the charge of wishing to cause unnecessary delay.
said, that he would not enquire into the motives by which the hon. gent. opposite to him was actuated, in reiterating those. heavy charges against the noble lord; but he had never heard a more unfounded accusation than that which charged his hon. friend with the wish to occasion delay. The hon. admiral had moved for certain papers to rebut the charges which had been made, and to prevent the house from forming a partial judgment. Some of these papers had been withheld, from what motive did not appear; but they had not been kept back by any fault on the part of his hon. friend, who now called on the house to order their immediate production. Whether the hon. gent. would press his motion on Thursday next, or whether he would postpone it, it was for him to determine; but in common fairness, the house should first be in possession of all the documents necessary to throw light on the subject. He did not wish to ask any thing as a matter of favour from the hon. gent. but as he was convinced that the public had a great interest in the character of earl St. Vincent, and knew of no possible benefit that could result from the proposed discussion, he would submit it to the discretion of the hon. gent. himself, whether he would precipitate his motion, before there was time for the due consideration of the papers?
§ Mr. Jeffery
declared, that nothing should deter or divert him from bringing forward 745 his charges. It was a question in Which house and the country were most deeply interested. He had no objection to a reasonable delay, if care were taken to have the papers produced. But an unreasonable delay were required, he would have additional reason to believe what he before suspected, that it was intended to throw every possible impediment in the way of the enquiry.—A return to the production of the papers was enjoined forthwith