HC Deb 10 July 1807 vol 9 cc754-68
Lord Cochrane

rose and spoke as follows:— Sir; A wish to avert a part of the impending and hitherto accumulating dangers of my country, has induced me to resolve to move for certain papers relative to the naval service, not with a retrospective view to blame individuals, but that unnecessary hardships may cease to exist.—I am willing, sir, to believe that members of this house who are capable of doing justice to any cause, have remained ignorant of circumstances which for some years have embittered the lives of a portion of the community, I mean those employed in the naval service of their country; and as to the gentlemen of the naval profession who have seats here, I suppose they either left the service before the establishment of the system of which all employed grievously complain; or, that a degree of diffidence occasioned by the awe which this house at first inspires, has prevented any other from performing this important duty. I wish, sir, it had fallen into other hands. I lament that the means by which I have acquired a knowledge of the subject, has in a great measure, unfitted me for the task I have now undertaken but no personal considerations shall prevent my doing that which I consider for the benefit of my country. I shall be as brief as possible, but as the nature of some of the papers for which I am about to move is unknown to many members of this house, it will be necessary that I should give some explanation.— The first motion is, "That there be laid before this house, copies of all letters or representations made by the commanders of his majesty's sloop Atalante, and schooner Felix, received by capt. Keats, commanding officer off Rochfort, respecting the state and condition of those vessels and the sick therein." The object of this motion is to prove that vessels are kept at sea under the present system in an unfit and dangerous state, and that the lives of many officers and men are in constant peril.—Lieut. Cameron who commanded the Felix, and since lost in that vessel, was one of the best and ablest officers I ever knew—correct in all respects. He, sir, though just appointed to command the Felix, and anxious to distinguish himself, found it incumbent upon him to represent to the commanding officer the necessity of the Felix being sent into port for repair. I shall read part of two letters from the surgeon of the Felix to his private friend. One of them dated three months before they all perished, and previous to lieut. Cameron's commanding that vessel. The other about eight days before that melancholy event.—Although, Mr. Speaker, these letters may not amount to legal proof, yet the official letters and other documents will. But, sir, it cannot appear that this unfortunate officer could have any interest in mistating matters to a private acquaintance. On the 14th Nov. he says, "our noble commander has been very active in his endeavours to get confirmed to this vessel, much more so than I should be—she sails worse and worse, and I think the chances are against us ever bringing her into an English port." In the other, dated 14th January, 1807, the passage to which I refer is as follows: "Our stock is all out, and we are praying for some God-sends. Clean linen are very scarce. Every endeavour has been put in force by Cameron and myself to get her in without success. He attacked the commodore with most miserable epistles of distress throughout, and I attacked him with a very formidable sick list; but all, my friend, would not do."—I may be told, that there is a danger in agitating such subjects, but there can be none at any time in bringing to the knowledge of the legislature, for redress, that which is notorious to those who have a right to claim it. Though we shut our eyes, the mischief will not be averted! Shall evils be suffered to continue, merely because timid people fear to acknowledge their existence? No, sir; let grievances be redressed in time, and complaints will cease.—I shall be very short as to the circumstances relating to the other vessel, the Atalante. When the Imperieuse, the ship I commanded, was about to leave the Rochfort station, I was ordered to provision the Atalante for six weeks, though she had been out 8 months and upwards, a time sufficient to break the energy, to weary the spirit, and ruin the health of men employed in such a vessel. The Atalante came alongside, and the commander and several officers were on board necessarily to settle their accounts; they then informed me of the bad condition of their sloop. They said she was wholly unfit to keep the sea. Several material spars were sprung, which in a gale of wind on shore would cause their inevitable loss. I think they said the foremast and bowsprit or fore yard were sprung. Besides, in blowing weather the Atalante made upwards of 20 inches of water an hour.—Although a survey had been held by some carpenters previous to this, I thought it proper to mention circumstances as they had been reported, and as they appeared to me, to the commanding officer off Rochfort; for I well knew, that the minds of persons of their description under the system of terror, were impressed with fear lest a vessel surveyed having gone into port, might possibly be found not quite so bad as represented. Their usual plan, therefore, is, to say that she can keep the sea a while longer; knowing that if lost it will only be reckoned an excess of zeal on their part for the good of his majesty's service. So much impressed was I with the bad state of this vessel, that I said to the builder of Plymouth-yard, in the presence of Admiral Sutton, on my arrival there, that the first news we should have from off Rochfort, if they had a gale of wind there, would be the loss of the Atalante. Under the harrassing system of 8 and 9 months cruises men get tired of their lives, and even indifferent as to choice between a French prison and their present misery. I shall make no further observations on this subject until the papers are produced.—Another paper that appears necessary, is an Abstract of the weekly accounts of his majesty's ships and frigates employed off Brest, and of ail his majesty's ships and vessels employed off Rochfort, from the 1st March, 1805, until the 1st March, 1807.—From this, sir, we shall be able to ascertain the number of men in each vessel, the number of sick, the time ships have been kept at sea, and the time they have been allowed in harbour to refit the vessels, and to recruit the crews. First, it will appear that the ships have been greatly short of effective men. Next, the extreme length of cruises and hardships that our seamen have suffered, which the low state of the enemy's navy did not require, and which in its most flourishing times had never been put in practice, because well known to be highly injurious. The Plantagenet, for instance, was 8 months within 4 hours sail of England; she was forced into Falmouth, and remained 12 days wind bound at one time; but an order existed, which I shall presently make the subject of a motion, by which neither an officer nor a man dared to stretch his legs even upon the gravel beach within 20 yards of the ship.—As a subject connected with the foregoing, and to shew how little benefit has been derived from supplies at sea, as a substitute for the refreshments the crews were formerly suffered to enjoy in port, I shall next move,—"That there be laid before this house an Account of the quantity of fresh provisions expressed in days allowance, received at sea by each of his majesty's ships and vessels employed off Brest and Rochfort, from the 1st March, 1805, to the 1st March, 1807."— Formerly, Mr speaker, when a ship had been out till the provisions with which she had been supplied were consumed, the return of that vessel to port was the natural consequence. For Channel service the time was 4 months, and the officers and men with satisfied minds looked forward contemplating with pleasure the little relaxations and indulgences they might then enjoy. But now, sir, being victualled and re-victualled at sea, there is no probable end of their misery. An East India voyage is performed in less time and with more refreshments than a channel cruise. Capt. Cook, whose authority will not be treated lightly, says, that "notwithstanding the Discovery had been out 117 days, the scurvy had made no great progress, which he ascribes to the essence of malt and fermented liquors." Limo juice is now the substitute, and a cure it is—but a debilitating cure —not fit to re-establish the strength of body impaired by living without vegetables for a long period on salted provisions. How matters of such material consequence have escaped the notice of the latest admiralties, I am at a loss to know; unless an excess of confidence reposed in the late commander in chief of the channel fleet has been the cause; and that this security existed on the part Of the admiralty, I think will be proved by the paper to which the motion I hold in my hand refers: "That there be laid before this house such orders as have been issued or acted upon between the 1st March, 1805, and the 1st March, 1807, by the authority of the commanders in chief of his majesty's ships and vessels employed in the channel soundings, respecting leave to be granted or withheld from officers or men; distinguishing who was commander in chief at the time of issuing or acting upon such orders."—In harbour, too, that neither officer nor man shall be permitted to go on shore is a hard case, and an order which I do not hesitate to condemn. And, sir, it appears not less striking, when I recollect, that during the greatest part of the time the commander in chief resided in London, enjoying not only the salary of his office, but claiming the emolument of prize money, gained by the toil and danger to which those engaged in the active service and defence of their country are exposed.— Such, indeed, sir, is the example shewn in this case, that I shall not be surprised to see some future minister confer the office on a fool or on a child, and make the situation of commander in chief of the channel fleet a sinecure as complete, and a means of corruption equal to any that has lately been the subject of debate in this house.—With respect to the sick, I consider it necessary to say a few words; but I shall first read my motion on that subject: "That there be laid before this house such orders as have been issued or acted upon between the 1st March, 1805, and the 1st March, 1807, by or by the authority of the commander in chief of his majesty's ships, &c. employed in the channel soundings, allowing or restraining commanding officers or surgeons of his majesty's ships, &c. from sending men to the naval hospitals, or restricting their admission into such hospitals."—In consequence of the regulations established in those institutions, mess were frequently refused admittance. A grievance connected with this point has made a strong impression upon my mind; that is, an order, rigidly inforced, that no man, whatever his state of health, be permitted to be sent to the hospital from any of the ships in the Channel Fleet, unless previously examined and allowed by the surgeon of the Commander in-Chief. The mischiefs resulting from this arrangement were notorious in the navy. In consequence of the inconvenience and difficulty, if not impossibility, of this surgeon's going from ship to ship at such times as vessels might be going into port, various diseases, deaths and amputations, too frequently ensued before such surgeon's examination could take place. There is another subject of complaint which appeared to me peculiarly ruinous. When the cry of œconomy was the order of the day in the naval depa[...] the house and the country must be surprized to hear of so singular an application of it as in limiting surgeons necessaries allowed to the navy. Some of the indispensible medicines, too, were cut off. The œconomists of that day seemed to consider the health of men as a thing of trifling account, compared to their favourite principle. So pertinaciously were regulations observed, that although I once sent a lieutenant sick and a seaman ruptured to the Hospital, I could not obtain their admission. The disease of the one was pronounced quite inadmissible, and though sent through sleet and rain, the only day for nearly three weeks in which they could go ashore, they were returned refused, and the country would be astonished, if not indignant, to hear the reason why the man was not admitted, because every thing possible had not been done to reduce the rupture on board, and he had not been hung up by the heels in a rolling sea, in order to reduce the rupture.—Why the evils connected with this system have not been before submitted to parliament and the public, I cannot pretend to say. Perhaps gentlemen may have been prevented from exposing it from motives of delicacy or personal interest; but no such considerations shall restrain me from the performance of a great public duty, to which, from its nature, I feel it peculiarly incumbent upon me to attend. The system of Naval Hospitals presents a variety of grounds to justify censure. In military hospitals, some little luxuries are allowed: to suit delicate stomachs, and to promote the revival of depressed spirits; and where can such luxuries be more necessary than to seamen, with diseased constitutions, after being eight or nine months living upon salt provisions, at sea. But in naval hospitals, no such luxuries are to be had; no eggs, no oranges are allowed. I know an instance, in which a lieutenant, who was dangerously ill, was refused a cup of egg wine. The answer was, that no eggs were allowed: the lieutenant died of his disease.—But this regulation is maintained on the ground of economy: indeed, this economy has gone to such a length as to reduce the quantity of lint before allowed to the surgeons. In consequence of which, in many cases, there is not for the purpose of the wounded, one fourth part enough of this article, so material for use, although so trifling in value. This limitation took place under one of those who were appointed by the commander in chief of the channel fleet, whom perhaps it was not necessary for him otherwise to name [a cry of name, name], by earl St. Vincent, observed the noble lord, these appointments were made—and under his regulations the navy has endured the sufferings I have faintly described. Unworthy savings have been unworthily made. Though sheltered by the plea of economy, a greater loss has, I contend, resulted to this country, than can ever be compensated by any savings economy is capable to produce.—I mean in the lives of men destroyed by long cruises and otherwise. Were it possible to consider the value of these lives in a pecuniary view, which I never can, it would require more money to supply the losses sustained by the application of economy in the manner I have described, than can be well imagined. Indeed, the grievances of the navy have been so severe, through rigour and misapplied economy, that I can see nothing in the character of that body more meritorious than the patience with which they have suffered those grievances.—The noble lord concluded with making his first motion; which being seconded by the hon. Mr. Dillon.

Sir Samuel Hood rose ,

and expressed his astonishment at the statements and observations which he had just heard; which really were such that he had hardly thought it possible that they could have come from so gallant an officer. If any thing of blame, said the hon. officer, attaches to the loss of the Atalante and the Felix, that blame is attributable to me and to commodore Keats. But the fact is, that the loss of the Atalante was not at all owing to her having been in a bad state. She drove ashore in a swell upon a fine day, and if she had not been sound, her crew could not have been saved. But the noble lord could not ascribe blame in consequence of this vessel's going ashore. For such an accident was no proof of neglect on the part of the officers. No censure could apply to them, any more than it could to the conduct of the noble lord himself, when he lost his ship some time since. A clear understanding of the case, therefore, was only necessary to refute this part of the noble lord's charges, and to shew that neither the officers nor any other person could be fairly blamed for the fate of the Atalante, for that fate was owing to an accident against which any commander, however vigilant, might be utterly unable to guard. Now, as to the Felix; that vessel perished in a gale of wind in St. Andero Bay, where she was sent with a flag of truce. She remained four days in the bay; and, had the soundest vessel in the navy been in the same situation in a gale of wind, she would have very little chance, if any, of escaping a similar fate. Indeed, there was ample proof that the Felix was not in a bad state; but when she was in port, the lieutenant wanted to go ashore to settle his accounts, and was refused. There is the secret, and hence probably this charge. I do not mean to impute to the noble lord any disposition to state any thing which he does not himself strictly believe. But the noble lord may be, I know he has been, misinformed, and when he comes forward with such misinformation to breed discontent in the navy, I feel it my duty, as it is the duty of every man who respects the best interests of that body, to resist him.—With regard to what the noble lord has said about provisions, and sickness, and medicines, I challenge him to prove any of his allegations. I. sailed from Plymouth, and when I recollect it, I cannot help laughing at the noble lord's statement. I had several men sick on board, but they recovered at sea. I had in one engagement 30 men killed and 100 wounded, and there was no such thing as a want of medicines or lint; nothing of the kind was to be heard of. I am fully of opinion, that none of the noble lord's assertions on this subject can be maintained. I have, I think, sufficiently replied to his statement relative to the Atalante and Felix; and I see no good to which any part of his statements can tend, though I can perceive in them very strong grounds to apprehend serious mischief.

Admiral Harvey

followed on the same side. He deprecated the attempts made perpetually to harass a gallant meritorious old officer [a cry of hear! hear!] He had no hesitation in saying, that the grounds of attack appeared quite fallacious. For himself, he could confidently say, that he never saw any scarcity whatever of medicines, surgeons stores, or provisions, on board any ship that came under his observation.

Admiral Markham

never rose with more regret, because he did feel the utmost apprehension, that the effect of such a discussion as that provoked by the noble lord, would do material injury to the discipline of the navy. No redress had ever been applied for to the Admiralty upon any of the grounds stated by the noble lord; and in what condition, he would ask, was the navy to be placed, if an inferior officer could bring his commander in chief to the bar of that house. With respect to the time a ship ought to be at sea, that depended on the necessity of the case, and not on the will of a commander in chief. But a good officer would not be forward to complain of such a thing. His hon. friend who spoke last was 13 months off Cape Finisterre, and his hon. friend who preceded him, was 5 months off Rochefort; yet neither were ever heard to complain. No; they knew their duty too well, and, like good officers, were reconciled to it. As to the injury to the health of the men, by keeping ships at sea, he would maintain that nothing was inure erroneous than the notion of the noble lord; for the fact was, that it always so happened, that seamen came ashore to get sick, and went to sea to get healthy. [A laugh, and cry of hear! hear!] As to the charge about fresh provisions, the hon. officer maintained, that nothing could be more untenable; for fresh provisions were sent to the fleet as often as they could be necessary, and in the best state that was practicable to convey them. With regard to surgeons stores, they were supplied under the administration of lord St. Vincent, precisely according to the plan originated either by lord Melville or lord Barham, he could not recollect which; and this was the first day he had ever heard it stated, that there was any scarcity whatever of those stores. If, however, such stores were wanted, why not apply to the executive government, and not bring it forward in that house? Unless such an application was found ineffectual, he contended that such a business ought not to be brought before that house.—As to the order for having persons reviewed, by the surgeon of the commander in chief, before they were sent to the hospital, he explained that to be with a view to prevent men to he disposed of who were fit to serve. For while officers could send men to the hospital on the Mere certificate of their own surgeon, they, naturally anxious for a good crew, were too apt to make use of their influence with the surgeon, to send any man to the hospital whom they did not happen to like.—The allusion to the residence of the commander in chief in London, could derive no influence but from delusion. He did so on account of his health. Besides the Channel Fleet was in different divisions, and the fact was, that for the purpose of communicating with each, the noble lord had better be ashore than at sea. Indeed, unless he took the station of junior admiral, he could not consistently join any of the divisions. For that noble earl he could only say, that he had no objection whatever to the production of any paper or document that related to his conduct; but for himself, he must observe, that disliking the whole discussion, or the introduction of such a subject at all in that house, he could not assent to the noble lord's motion. If the noble lord had any good grounds of complaint, they should be referred to the admiralty, who would, no doubt, give them all the attention they deserved.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

declared, that no grounds whatever had been made out for the motion, which it was so seriously to be lamented that the noble lord had thought it his duty to bring forward. The house of commons would ever be anxiously alive to the welfare and interests of the brave men of whom our navy was composed; but he was convinced, that it would at the same time be very backward in adopting such motions as the present, unless the perion who proposed them could distinctly state that he had taken all other means of redressing the grievances complained of unsuccessfully.

Mr. Windham

coincided completely in opinion with the right hon. gent. who had just sat down, and contended, that besides the just reasons for opposing the motion, which that right hon. gent. had stated, the noble lord had in no way whatever proved his assertions, but had been completely contradicted by the gallant admirals. He made an eloquent panegyric on earl St. Vincent, the history of whose whole life was a most brilliant answer to the accusations of his enemies.

Mr. Robert Ward

observed that the highest encomiums were due to that illustrious character earl St. Vincent. Illustrious character he must call him, because whatever opinion might be entertained of his civil services, there could be no difference of sentiment as to the glory of his professional career. He admitted also the high professional character of the noble lord who made the motion; but he was sorry that such a motion had been brought forward in this house, before complaint had been made through the proper channel. No man could cherish more than he would the power and the right of this house to examine into abuses; but when there was a channel by which application ought to be made in the first instance, he thought it unnecessary and improper to bring complaints before this house, before any effort was made to have them corrected in the most natural and ready way.

Sir Charles Pole

in reply to the implied censures of the noble lord upon the late administration of the navy, observed, that since the reign of king William no one had done so much for the navy as the late administration. The first act of the noble lord below (lord Howick), when he came into that department, was to examine into the state of the seamen; and he came down to the house for an increase of the number and the pay of the petty officers, thinking this one of the best methods of rewarding distinguished service among the men. All this he did gratuitously, without waiting for an application—a measure which had not a little increased the confidence of the seamen in the government, an object in the highest degree desirable and advantageous. The noble lord had not stopped here. He also extended this beneficial measure to the Warrant Officers, without any application, a thing which had never been done since the days of king William. Neither did the noble lord stop here; he had followed the aged, the decrepid, wounded, and worn out seamen, to the obscurity of their cottages; chaced poverty and wretchedness from them, and diffused health, cheerfulness, and comfort. He had raised their allowance from 7 to 18l. a-year, and made seamen look with confidence towards the government which thus paid attention to their situation unasked. He had also followed up the measure, by an increase to the masters, lieutenants, and commanders. In short, every attention was paid by the noble lord to the interests of the service, a conduct which deserved the acknowledgements of all who wished well to it.

Mr. Sheridan

said, that he heard with regret and surprize, those assertions stated here, which he had heard on a former occasion; and he had thought from the manner in which the noble lord had at last dropped the accusations, that he had even convinced himself from the most authentic documents that he was wrong. He had read a letter from commodore Keats, taking the whole blame to himself, respecting some of the transactions, but where there was certainly no blame. And notwithstanding the boisterous manner in which the audience at the hustings at Covent Garden generally expressed their opinions, yet even they had rejected these clamours as dangerous, when they sufficiently understood their nature. They set their faces against them as out of time and place; as brought forward for manifest purposes, and not for the good of the public, and as attended with incalculable mischief, without being productive of any good. Sup- pose he had not had the good fortune to be acquainted with the noble earl accused, whom he regarded with the highest respect and veneration; suppose he had not had the opportunity of making the inquiries he had made—he had refuted the charges at the time; but suppose he had not had that opportunity, was it nothing to consider the injury that might be done by these accusations going on board the ships months before they could be answered? He regretted that they were now again brought forward, but he certainly felt less alarm than before. Even as it was, they had before done some injury, as he had learnt from officers, who said that they were every day in dread, when the papers with the reports came on board. What was their effect on commodore Keats! They were such that he thought it necessary to demand a court-martial on his conduct. That had been refused, because there was no grounds for it. But was it nothing to have moved the feelings of a meritorious officer thus far? He approved of what had been said, as to the conduct of his noble friend near him (lord Howick), but in fact no board of admiralty would refuse to listen to the complaints of experienced officers. This house would be always ready to attend to the complaints of our gallant sailors, and redress their grievances, but it was necessary to ascertain whether complaints had been made to the proper department, and redress refused. The only motion he therefore thought which could be agreed to on this subject in the present instance was this, "that there be laid before the house copies to the representations of the right hon cap-fain lord Cochrane to the Board of Admiraity, with the answers thereto, if any."

Lord Cochrane

rose to reply and said:—I disclaim, sir, any motive whatever except a regard for the real interests of my country, though I am free to confess that I cannot help feeling in common with others the treatment received.—Improper motives have been imputed to me, and I might reply to one of those gentlemen who has denied facts which I can prove, that he was one of those who established this abominable system. What his abilities may be in matters not connected with the naval service, I know not; but in the navy it is understood to be a fact, that his noble patron, the earl St. Vincent, sent the master of the Ville de Paris to put his ship in some tolerable order [here there was a cry of order! order! from Admirals Pole, Harvey, and others. The Speaker observed, that when the noble lord said that improper motives were ascribed to him, it was a reproach to him (the Speaker), but he was in the judgment of the house whether he deserved it.] With respect, sir, to the assertion made by the same gentleman, that the health of the men is increased by long cruises at sea, and that that of the commander in chief is improved by being on shore, he may reconcile it if he can —Tho', sir, I shall not follow the example of imputing improper motives, another complaint and a just one too (looking at Capt. Sir Samuel Hood) in the naval service is, that under this obnoxious system, captains have been appointed to large commands of 6 or 7 sail of the line, as many frigates, and as many sloops of war, the right of admirals who have served and can serve their country and who have bled in its cause. But perhaps, sir, for such times, their rank did not afford a prospect of their being sufficiently subservient. I believe this house need not be told that there are admirals of ability who from these causes, have lingered in neglect. [a cry of order! order! from admiral Harvey and others. Sir, two parts of the statement of the hon. knight are worthy of remark in so far as they were meant in reply to my statement. He has said he had a hundred men killed and wounded in his ship, and no complaint, no inconvenience, was found from want of lint or any thing else. First, this was at a time when surgeons received an allowance to buy extra medicines for the sick, and, in the second place, the wounded of whom he speaks were sent on the day following to Gibraltar hospital.—Now, sir, with respect to the blame said to be directly attributed by me to lord St. Vincent for the loss of the Felix and Atalante I have to remark, that it is of the general system and its consequences of which I complain, of endless cruizes, thereby rendering surveys at sea on the state of vessels a substitute for a proper examination of their condition in port, or in dock. The hon. knight has been a little unfortunate in the comparison he made that lord St. Vincent was no more to blame, than for my getting the Impérieuse on shore on the coast of France. Now, since this subject has been touched upon, I must state that I made application for a Court Martial on my conduct, but it was not granted, because it was known that the blame would fall, where it ought to fall, on the person whose repeated positive command sent the ship forth to sea in an unfit condition. The artificers of the yard had not finished the ship; all was in confusion. The quarter-deck guns lay unfitted. Forty tons of iron ballast, beside provisions and stores of all kinds, remained on deck. The powder, allowed to be taken on board only when the ship is out of harbour, was received then, and the Impérieuse was hurried to sea without a cartridge filled or one gun loaded. The order issued was to quit the port the instant that she would steer, regardless of every other material circumstance. [Another cry of order! order! from the same gentlemen. The Speaker said, the noble lord must confine himself to the matter before the house.] I consider what I have now said as an answer to a statement made without a knowledge of facts.—Another hon. gent. who has attempted to contradict my statements (Admiral Pole) has in his great zeal mentioned an increase of pay which took place some time ago as relative to the present subjects of complaint, and perhaps he has done so with as much sincerity and as laudable an intention as the person who asserted that a profusion of oranges were given to the fleet at Lisbon, in refutation of my statement that none are allowed to the hospitals at home.—I have remarked, sir, that I have not heard from any of those who have so zealously spoken on the other side a defence of the obnoxious order to keep all officers and men on board, altho? I think it as tenable as the position that men are to be kept healthy by being kept continually at sea.— All these things may appear matters of indifference or of small moment to some who are here at their ease, but I view it in a different light, and if no one better qualified will represent a subject of great complaint, I shall do so, independent of every personal consideration.—In the course of the debate, it has been stated, that I asserted lime-juice to be a bad cure for the scurvy; no, it is a cure, and almost a certain cure, but debilitating; it destroys the disease, but ruins the constitution.—An hon. gent. (Mr. Sheridan) has said, all this should have been represented to the Admiralty; that this house is an improper place for such discussions, and he has threatened to call for all letters from me to the board of Admiralty. To the first, I answer, that boards pay no attention to the representations of individuals whom they consider under their command and control; next, that if the hon. gent. calls for my letters, he will find some that will not answer his purpose.—Sir, beside the public abuses, the oppression and scandalous persecution of individuals, often upon anonymous and encouraged information, has been matter of great complaint. As a single proof of injustice, I have only to mention that one of the most flagrant of those personal injuries done by the Admiralty of which the hon. admiral (Markham) above me was a member, was lately on the simple merits of the case redressed by the noble bold below me (lord Howick), Who sympathized and felt as he ought to feel for a gallant wounded and persecuted officer, (lieutenant R. W. Parker).—Sir, the present admiralty, by en-creasing the time allowed for the refreshment of the crews, instead of corrupting their bodies and then drenching them with lime juice, will deserve the gratitude and thanks of all employed. In the navy, we have had to lament the system that makes the admiralty an appendage of the minister of the day, and just as the members of that board began to see and probably to plan the reform of abuses, they have been removed. I trust, sir, that I shall not be denied the papers, and that these motions will not like those on a former occasion be got rid of by a blind vote of thanks, or by any subterfuge of a previous question.—The motion was then put and negatived without a division.

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