§ On the Chairman proceeding to read the first Clause,
§ Sir George Cockburn
rose for the purpose of moving an amendment to the clause explanatory of the objections which he entertained to the principle on which the 1334 measure was founded. From the statement which the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) made to the House when introducing the Bill it appeared to have been brought forward with a view of creating a more effectual control over the monies voted by Parliament for naval purposes, and, indeed, its object was, to establish a more complete supervision over the whole of that important branch of the public expenditure of the country than at present existed. Now, it struck him (Sir G. Cockburn), and he assured the House he had devoted no little attention to the subject, that, so far from its being likely to be attended with such a result, the arrangement which the Bill proposed would be found more loose and more inoperative than that which at present existed, or, in other words, that "the cure would be worse than the disease." Certain he was, that the Boards as at present constituted, with an efficient audit of accounts, would work much better than the plan proposed. The hon. member for Middlesex, in the course of the discussion which occurred on the first reading of the Bill, said, he thought there would be as much security from bad management and fraud in the one measure as in the other; but he apprehended that the principle on which a change should be introduced, was to effect an improvement in an existing system, and that it would be much better not to introduce any alteration in an existing system if there was no hope of making a change for the better. One of the chief objections that he entertained to the measure, was, that it took away in almost every case individual responsibility, without which, the public could have no possible security against mismanagement. With the exception of the Accountant-General of the Navy, all the various officers, even those placed over the stores and the victualling, navy, and shipping departments, were rendered by the Bill totally irresponsible for their conduct; at least, they were not mentioned in it, and, consequently, their responsibility was to be considered as nothing so far as the Bill was concerned. As a substitute for that responsibility, the Bill proposed to place a Lord of the Admiralty over each public department, who was to be accountable for every thing done in it. Now, he could not think that such an arrangement would secure the public service against mismanagement, or the public money against waste, for it was to be recollected, that no Lord of the Admiralty could be 1335 made responsible per se, inasmuch as, being one of a Board, his misdeeds or mismanagement, naturally fell back upon that Board, and hence would arise, an increase of that evil always so much found fault with, namely, the imposition of a great charge on the Board of Admiralty without individual responsibility. It appeared to him, that, if such an increase of duty was imposed on that Board, after a little time it would be neglected; and that the various heads of the departments, whom he again begged the House to recollect were irresponsible, would naturally find themselves called upon to take into their hands the general management of the affairs of the navy, leaving the public to look to the Lords of the Admiralty, who, in the nature of things, could not keep a perfect and efficient control over them in the event of mismanagement. When it was recollected, that, the changes to which the Board of Admiralty were liable, were very numerous, it was quite apparent, that the security which the public would have for the due appropriation of parliamentary grants would be quite insignificant and insufficient under the new plan. In calculating on the chance of the Board of Admiralty neglecting the discharge of this addition to their labours, of course he did not include the members of that Board at present in office. They were unquestionably likely to attend to that duty, if, for no other reason than that it was created by themselves, and during the period of their officiating the arrangements would be new; but after the expiration of a year or two, other individuals might constitute the Admiralty Board, perhaps not as active, or so well convinced of the policy of the arrangement, and in such an event there would be no security to the public, and no control over the various departments beyond that of the individuals at the head of the several offices. What he would recommend, would be, to constitute a Board composed of the several heads of the Navy Departments, to be presided over by the additional Lord of the Admiralty proposed by this Bill, with whom the entire control, subject only to the general supervision of the Admiralty, should rest. By such means, the public would have security for the due disposal of the money voted by Parliament, and at the same time, the members of the Board would be responsible to the Admiralty. Again, the Bill was deficient in the very material point of not establishing an efficient audit. The accounts up to March, 1336 were to be audited in six months, and they might, probably reach that House in nearly a twelvemonth from the time of their being delivered into office. If any explanation was required, they must be returned to the Admiralty, and would, most likely, not be completed until the Session was over; and before another commenced, there might be a change in the Admiralty, when the whole responsibility would be at an end. If such a board as he proposed was constituted, the members would be individually and personally responsible. These arrangements might be made without touching upon the economical part of the right hon. Baronet's plan. Allowing, however, that the Lords of the Admiralty were most anxious to attend to all the details, it would be impossible for them to do so, and properly discharge their other duties, especially in war time, when the movements of the fleet would necessarily occupy so much of their attention. He was certain, therefore, that the plan must, in this case, be so far modified, as to place responsibility in the persons of the subordinate chiefs of departments, or the whole service would soon come to a stand still. There was one other point to which he wished to call the attention of the House: the Board of Ordnance had been held up as a pattern, on which to establish other Boards, but it was framed upon principles very different from those on which the Board to be created by this Bill was founded. In the Ordnance there was a chief in each department, the chiefs united formed a Board, at the head of which was a superior officer, and each chief was responsible for his own department. The same arrangements was observed in the office of the Commander-in-Chief. In both cases the business was conducted by their respective subordinate Boards, who were in fact, responsible persons. To attain the same object in the Naval Departments, he begged to propose the following amendment, to be introduced into the Clause at line six. 'That an adequate number of persons shall be appointed to superintend, respectively, one out of the several branches, into which the civil department of the navy may be divided; and that such persons shall form together, assisted by the Chairman, a Board for conducting and executing the duties hitherto intrusted to the Commissioners of the Navy and Victualling Board, as the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral may direct, subject to such re- 1337 gulations and arrangements, as the Commissioners for the office of Lord High Admiral may think proper to establish.' He thought that the adoption of such a system, would still leave the whole control in the hands of the Admiralty; while, at the same time, it would render these persons responsible for the due fulfilment of the duties intrusted to them. He confessed he was much surprised that the right hon. Baronet (the first Lord of the Admiralty) would not entertain this question, inasmuch, as he was quite positive, that it would be found to be a great improvement upon the measure as it now stood. Nor was there, he begged to say, any thing new in the plan he had suggested by this amendment, because, on the first formation of the navy, in the reign of Edward the 6th, acertain number of persons formed a Board, who met at Tower-hill, for the purpose of conducting the general affairs of the navy, and this Board made their report to the Lord High Admiral once a month; but they were regarded as persons responsible to the public for the due fulfilment of their important duties.
§ Sir Byam Martin
rose to second the Amendment proposed by the hon. and gallant officer. It would be in the recollection of the Committee, that the right hon. Baronet had founded his reasons for bringing forward the present measures upon several distinct charges, as applicable to the Navy Board. The right hon. Baronet had commented on their disobedience and opposition to the orders of the Admiralty; and then went on to say, he hoped he could produce such examples to the House of this negligence and disobedience, and of an under-current of resistance to the Admiralty Board, as would, he trusted, induce the House to concur with him in the necessity of such a measure as that now introduced. When the right hon. Baronet made this statement, he (Sir Byam Martin) then declared that, to the best of his recollection, every particle of his assertion was erroneous. But, though from having taken notes on that occasion, he could at once have given a denial to the statement of the right hon. Baronet, he had refrained from doing so at that moment, and not content to rest upon his own conviction merely, he had moved for the production of certain documents, to confirm his impression of the erroneous representations which had been made by the right hon. Baronet. These had been accordingly furnished, and on them, he was about to 1338 submit some remarks. It might be in the recollection of the House that, the right hon. Baronet asserted, that the store-ledger had not been kept as directed, and that such was its state of arrear, that, although the attempt to bring it up had been made, it must now be abandoned, as utterly and absolutely hopeless. Perhaps the House was scarcely prepared to believe, that at the very time the right hon. Baronet was making this statement, there was no arrear at all attributable to the Navy Board; the statement, however, made a great impression on the minds of many hon. Members, and he had accordingly moved for a return showing the periods to which the issue-notes of the several dock-yards had been posted in the Navy Office ledger, on the 1st of October. He chose that day, because it was the one to which the right hon. Baronet confined his assertion, he, (Sir Byam Martin) having given up office about that day, and the returns proved that there was no arrear whatever. The right hon. Baronet caused a letter to be written by the Secretary of the Admiralty, to the Navy Board, asking for information, the object of which was, to diminish the effect of the fact he had just laid before the House. The consequence was, however, a confirmation of his statement. The letter of the Secretary to the Admiralty, ran thus—Admiralty Office, 29th February, 1832.Gentlemen,—I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to signify their direction to you, to transmit a statement, showing the state of the store-ledgers on the 1st of October, 1831, in your office; to what period they had then been brought up; to what period the ledgers from the several dock-yards had been examined; what your opinion was, as to the means of posting the issue-notes, and the practical use of the new system; and what additional labour, as to time and number of clerks, has been employed to bring them up to their present state. I am, &c.(Signed) "JOHN BARROW.The answer from the Navy Board deserved attention; for it distinctly showed that the blame attempted to be cast upon it by the right hon. Baronet—in fact, rested with the Admiralty itself. After showing that the arrear, mentioned by the right hon. Baronet, did exist in October, the Navy Office letter observed—In reference to the state of the business, and their Lordships' desire to know what our opinion was, as to the means of posting the issue-notes, we beg to observe that, owing to 1339 the discontinuance of the abstracts of the receipts and issue of stores by their Lordships' express directions of the 18th of November, 1830, and to the insufficiency of the establishment of the store-office to meet the increased duty created by the aforesaid directions, the means were undoubtedly inadequate to the attainment of the object in view.The fact was, that the Navy Board, being apprised of the wish of the Admiralty, had desired each dock-yard to send up an abstract of its issues; but the Admiralty, upon hearing of it, forbade the making up of those abstracts, and thus, as stated by the Navy Board, the arrear was occasioned by the Admiralty. The right hon. Baronet had also stated, that there were other instances in which the orders of the Admiralty had not been carried into effect. He had referred to an order signed by Lord Melville, directing such a reduction to be made in the dock-yards as would leave an establishment of only 6,000 men. The right hon. Baronet attempted to show three cases of disobedience to this order; but he would prove, that, in every instance, the order given was implicitly obeyed. If hon. Gentlemen would refer to that letter of Lord Melville they would find that the reduction for the charge of the year was not to be effected by the discharge of men, but by an alteration in wages. The letter from the Admiralty ran thus:—Admiralty Office, 9th January, 1830.Gentlemen—It having been determined to make a considerable reduction in the expense of the labour in the dock-yards, we have had under our consideration two modes of accomplishing that object; the one, the immediate dismissal of a number of the shipwrights now employed—the other, a reduction of the rate of earnings. In pursuance of the principle which has guided our arrangements, ever since the peace, of endeavouring to operate the retrenchments which public economy required, with the least privation to individuals, we are disposed to adopt the latter course on the present occasion; and, as the payment made under the denomination of chip-money is, in its principle, objectionable, and is that which, in our opinion, may be most conveniently to the public service retrenched—we hereby require and direct you to cause the payment of chip-money to cease in all yards on the 1st of February next, communicating to the people in the yards, that there was no other alternative than that of immediately dismissing one-sixth of the men; and we are led to hope and believe that the mode we have adopted is that which is likely to produce the least individual distress. You are to prepare and report for our consideration, the distribution which you may judge proper for the said 1340 6,000 men in the several yards, and into the several classes and descriptions of artificers and workmen; and you are to make a corresponding diminution in the expense of the yards in the Estimates of the present year, 1830.The first part of this letter contained a distinct announcement, that the reduction for the year was to be effected by a diminution of wages, which the Admiralty—setting, in this respect, an example well worthy of imitation—preferred to causing the distress that must have been occasioned by the sudden and simultaneous discharge of a large body of workmen. The object of the right hon. Baronet, in referring to the latter part of the letter was, to make the House believe that the Navy Board had disobeyed the Admiralty, and had made no reduction in the Estimates of 1830. But so far from the Admiralty having been disobeyed, a letter, enforcing them, was immediately sent to each dockyard. It ran thus:—Navy Office, 13th January, 1830.Sir—In pursuance of an order from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated the 9th instant; I am commanded by the Commissioners of the Navy to direct the payment of chip money to the workmen to cease on the 1st of next month. In communicating to the Board their directions, their Lordships have been pleased to state, that there was no other alternative than that of immediately dismissing one-sixth of the workmen, to effect the necessary retrenchments; and that their Lordships are led to hope and believe the mode adopted is that which is likely to produce the least individual distress; which you are accordingly to make known to the workmen.The amount of pecuniary saving by this arrangement was this. In 1829 the amount of wages paid to workmen was 480,000l., but in 1830 they were reduced to 445,000l., making a reduction of 35,000l. The Admiralty Order was dated the 9th of January; it reached the Navy Board on the 11th, and on the 13th the Navy Board despatched the order he had read, to the dock-yards; thus obeying the Admiralty in the most prompt and implicit manner. The right hon. Baronet further said, that the order for the reduction in the number of the men had been in operation two years, and yet that on the 1st of January last 250 only had been reduced. It was extraordinary that the right hon. Baronet, with access to documents had not made one reference correctly; though all his errors had invariably tended to the prejudice of the Navy 1341 Board. If Gentlemen would refer to the papers on the Table, they would find the number of men employed in the dock-yards on the 1st of January, 1830, including inferior officers, workmen, and apprentices, to be 7,929; whereas the number in January, 1832, was 7,201, proving a reduction in the two years of 728 men. The next charge of the right hon. Baronet was contained in his trumpery story about the five tons of copper which had been stolen from the dock-yard at Chatham, and which theft he observed, could not have taken place, if a proper degree of vigilance in the keeping of the accounts had been observed. Now it happened that he had been materially concerned in the investigation of that matter, and the abstraction of the copper first came to his knowledge on the receipt of a letter from Birmingham, asking him if there was any harm in purchasing copper bearing the King's mark? Without communicating the circumstance to any one, he immediately sent to Bow-street, requesting an intelligent officer to be placed at his disposal, and him he despatched as his answer to the letter. He proceeded himself immediately to Chatham; and the first thing he did was, to ascertain the state of the copper in store, as compared with the ledger, which he found to be strictly correct. In fact, no vigilance exercised by the Navy Board could guard against the robbery in question; the copper having been obtained from the stores by means of the proper issue-notes, through persons appointed under a plan of the Admiralty's own establishment, and which was adopted against the wishes and advice of the Navy Board. Thus the right hon. Baronet had failed in every point, and the official documents gave a direct contradiction to his assertions. Another complaint which had been raised by the right hon. Baronet was, that works had been undertaken without the sanction of Parliament, but that was no censure on the Navy Board, for they were done by orders from the Admiralty. He challenged the right hon. Baronet to establish one instance of resistance or disobedience to the orders of the Admiralty on the part of the Navy Board, and he would ask the right hon. Baronet whether he or any other person at the head of that department would submit to any dictation or any disobedience from the Navy Board? He considered it quite impossible to imagine any power more complete than that of the Admiralty. He 1342 begged now to advert to the opinion which had been given by Mr. Barrow, before the Finance Committee in respect to the labours of the Admiralty Office. He had on that occasion stated, that, he did not think it possible to reduce the establishment of the Lord High Admiral; his four Commissioners and his two Secretaries could not be reduced, as their time was always fully occupied. How the same Board could perform all the duties of the present subordinate Boards, with only the addition of one Lord of the Admiralty, he would leave Mr. Barrow to explain, as it was said the plan of the right hon. Baronet had the sanction of that gentleman. The present system pursued in this country, with reference to the management of the navy, was that, which had been pursued in the days of our naval glory; it was one which had been adopted by France and by America; and when he saw these great maritime powers following our example, he was the more convinced of the impolicy of effecting any great change in our system. It had been well observed by an American, that he wished his country to imitate England in her sane, but not in her insane, policy. His earnest hope was, that this country would soon get rid of her present erroneous notions with regard to the new plan for improving the Naval Administration, for he considered it the most insane project that had lately been broached. He had now shown that misrepresentation pervaded all the statements of the right hon. Baronet, and, as his plan was thus stripped of all the mis-statements the right hon. Baronet had brought forward to recommend it, he did not think the right hon. Baronet was entitled to proceed with it. Those warrant officers whom it was proposed to appoint, would never dare to oppose anything coming from the new Board, however convinced they might be of its impropriety. If they did so, it would be considered as an under-current of resistance, and, perhaps, the result might be to turn them out of their places. Were he (Sir B. Martin) now in office, he would not act as it was more than probable these warrant officers would act. He would tell the right hon. Baronet that there was one part of his plan which must be productive of great inconvenience and great injustice, as regarded eighteen individuals in their dock-yards, who were educated at the Public College at Portsmouth, and who had received his Majesty's promise by Order in Council, that they should fill 1343 all the highest offices in their profession, and rise to be master shipwrights and surveyors of the navy. These persons were bound to give bond to the amount of 800l. that they would not quit his Majesty's service for ten years after their apprenticeship had expired. The House ought to be cautious how they became a party to any injustice committed towards these young men. If they did, they would have much to answer for. This, if he were in office, he would have told the hon. Baronet; but who would dare to tell it to him when his plan was in operation? No one, because he would be fearful of immediately losing his bread. He hoped that the Amendment of his hon. and gallant friend would be supported, and that the House would place in him that confidence to which he was so justly entitled. His proposition embraced all that was good in the plan of the right hon. Baronet, and only got rid of the inconvenience.
Sir J. Graham
said, that he had nothing to complain of in regard to the manner in which the hon. and gallant Officer had proposed his Amendment, and he was ready to admit, that whatever fell from that gallant officer on this subject, was entitled to serious consideration. He felt it necessary, however, in the first instance, to trouble the Committee with a few observations in reply to what had been stated by the gallant Officer who had just sat down, and who, he regretted to observe, had evinced some degree of irritation in the course of his address. That gallant Officer had charged him with a misrepresentation of facts, and he, therefore, felt it incumbent on him to answer as briefly as he could the observations of that gallant Officer. The first point which the gallant Member had endeavoured to make, related to the statement which he had made, on a former occasion, with respect to the great arrear in the store-ledger. In his speech, on introducing this Bill to the House, he had stated, that the store-ledger was, at that time, in such a state of arrear, that he believed it was irrecoverable, he was now ready to admit that he was incorrect in making that statement. He would just, however, mention to the Committee the circumstances under which he had made it. In the course of last October, having visited the Navy Board, he found the store-ledger in a state of arrear which was represented to him as a state of irrecoverable arrear. That was the statement which he had received from the head of the department. 1344 The hon. and gallant Officer asserted, that that arrear had been caused in consequence of an order of the Board of Admiralty, and on account of a deficiency in the number of clerks appointed to do the business. Now, the fact was, that, in the interim between his (Sir James Graham's) visit to the Navy Board, in October, and the time when he made the speech to which the gallant Officer referred—namely, in February—that arrear which he had been led to suppose was irrecoverable had, without any additional strength in the number of clerks, but by greater exertion on the part of those employed in that department, been completely brought up. When he made that speech in February, he did not then know that such was the fact. Could, therefore, he would ask, such a deficiency, as had previously existed, in making up the arrears, be attributed to any orders from the Admiralty, or to any want of strength in the clerk department, when, in the course of three months, by increased exertion on the part of the clerks employed there, the whole of the arrears had been swept away? Another point in which he was charged with error was, with reference to the construction he put upon the order of the 9th of January, 1830, respecting the reduction of the number of men in the yards. The concluding part of that order was this:—'You are to prepare and report for our consideration the distribution which you may judge proper for the said 6,000 men into the several yards, and into the several classes and descriptions of artificers and workmen, and you are to make a corresponding diminution in the expense of the yards in the estimate of the present year, 1830.' By a very odd coincidence, an opinion was expressed in the early part of this Admiralty order, and which was signed by the hon. and gallant Admiral, who had moved the Amendment, in which exactly the same view of the case as that adopted by the Government, was taken. It stated:—'We hereby require and direct you to cause the payment of chip-money to cease in all yards on the 1st of February, 1830, communicating to the people in the yards that there is no other alternative than that of immediately dismissing one-sixth of the men; and we are led to hope and believe that the mode we have adopted, is that which is likely to produce the least individual distress. We are well aware that the reduction thus ordered is not, either in its principle or extent, sufficient; but, you are to under- 1345 stand that every opportunity of reduction in the number of workmen is to be taken, until the establishment of men and their earnings be brought down to what it ought in sound principles to be, namely, that no more men should be employed than the nature of the works require, and, that such men should be employed at full work, and on such prices as (with reference to the price of labour in the country, in general) may be adequate to the work performed.' He thought there was nothing in this order which limited its operation to chip-money; on the contrary, he was convinced that the passage which he had just read, would lead any impartial person to believe that it was not limited, but general. He said, then, that the order was not complied with, either in its spirit or letter. The Board of Admiralty ordered, that the establishment should be reduced to 6,000 men, and the question then arose as to the time when these reductions were to be carried into execution. The Admiralty order to the Commissioners of the Navy, to which he had so repeatedly referred, stated:—'You are, therefore, (besides the reduction of 430 men already ordered to be made by the alterations at Deptford) to continue to the Commissioners at the ports the directions not to enter any more men or apprentices in the yard (except apprentices in lieu of others dying or discharged before the expiration of their time) until the total number be reduced to 6,000, which is the number that we at present contemplate as fit to be kept up during peace, and when the number shall be brought down to 7,000 men, they are to be allowed to work the whole of Wednesday, and when reduced to 6,500, to work six days in the week.' How a construction such as had been stated by the hon. and gallant Officer could be put upon this order, he was quite at a loss to understand. He would ask this House whether, in the conduct pursued, the order had been properly acted on. It appeared that the number of workmen employed on the 1st of January, 1832, had been 7,900, instead of 6,000. In two years, therefore, there had been a reduction of only 687 workmen and apprentices, and forty-one inferior offices. The hon. and gallant Officer appeared to consider this a large number, but, as it included the reductions made in Deptford dock-yard, amounting to 430 persons who were discharged on the partial breaking up of that establishment, the whole diminution for 1346 the other yards did not amount to more than 270 men. The hon. and gallant Officer had next proceeded to discuss the question as to the abstraction of a quantity of copper from the dock-yards. The gallant Officer himself admitted the abstraction of the copper. Now, all that he had contended for was, that such was the state of the store-ledger joined to the inconvenient manner in which the accounts were kept, that it was impossible to prevent such things from taking place, or to detect the deficiency occasioned by these abstractions from the public stores, and this was evident, when the hon. and gallant Officer admitted that the first information which he received of copper having been stolen from Chatham dock-yard came not from any officer of the yard, but, from a person in Birmingham. Now, he would contend, that the checks must have been bad and inefficient, which allowed eight weeks to elapse before the gallant Officer received information of the abstraction of such a quantity as six tons of copper. He had no doubt whatever, that the consolidation of the two Boards would greatly relieve the burthen of business at the Admiralty, by simplifying and facilitating it. Such was the opinion of Mr. Barrow, who had great knowledge in the details of office, and much experience. He had been told, when he first used that gentleman's name, that he must have done so in error, for that he had given a contrary opinion before the Finance Committee. In addition to this authority, however, he had the satisfaction to be able to state that the noble Lord his predecessor, who had been First Lord of the Admiralty for twenty years, was favourable to the plan now before the House, and thought it practicable, and by no means dangerous to be carried into execution. Further, he begged to say, that, if changes of opinion on the part of these who had given evidence before the Finance Committee were to be referred to, he thought that there could have been nothing more extraordinary than that such a proposition as the present Amendment should have proceeded from the gallant Officer opposite, who had, before the Finance Committee, expressed himself favourable to the consolidation of the Navy and Victualling Board, though he seemed now to think that it was not desirable.
Sir James Graham
It is an abstract of the evidence given by the hon. and gallant Officer before the Finance Committee. Without noticing that point further, however, he would state, that his great object was, to get rid of all subordinate Boards, which, he thought, only impeded the public business, and he adhered to the expression under-current of opposition, not meaning to use it in an invidious sense, but as expressing the desire generally felt by members of such Boards to follow their own plans. It was quite true, that the Patents both of the Navy and the Victualling Boards were most explicit as to the obedience which they should pay to the orders of the Board of Admiralty, but then, it was to be borne in mind, that those bodies were deliberative bodies, though there was an appeal from their decisions to the Board of Admiralty, by which they were liable to be reversed. Now, it was only according to human nature, that, when a body of men deliberately consulted on a subject, and came to a conclusion which, in their judgment, appeared to be best with regard to it, and, when their decision was reversed, and another plan substituted in its stead, they would not carry such a plan into prompt and efficient execution. It was under such circumstances that, in his opinion, the existence of those subordinate Boards was injurious to the public service, instead of promoting it, as the hon. Gentleman maintained. The Amendment of the hon. and gallant Officer was so far good, that it removed one of those impediments by consolidating the Navy and Victualling Boards. But his objection to the proposition of the hon. and gallant Officer was, that it was only a half measure, and that it only went to remove one-half of that evil which the abolition of both the Boards completely removed. He was satisfied that, by this measure of consolidation, under the head of correspondence, forty clerks would be sufficient to do the business, instead of seventy, as at present, so that the expense of thirty clerks would be thus saved to the public, besides introducing a degree of promptitude into the proceedings which the machinery at present tended much to check. By the existing custom, if a Captain received orders to fit his ship for any particular service, he must apply to the Navy Board for any alterations that might be necessary, in his opinion, as to the appointments of his ship. The an- 1348 swer generally was, that the alterations were contrary to the established regulations, and could not be allowed. The Captain then had to apply to the Admiralty, and a correspondence between that Board and the Navy Board ensued upon the subject, and ultimately, after ten or twelve letters probably had passed on all sides, a conclusion was come to which might have been effected by one letter under proper regulations, such as he proposed to establish. The hon. and gallant Officer had complained, that great injustice would be committed against eighteen individuals, by the course proposed to be adopted by this Bill, as there was an Order in Council in existence directing that they were to be presented to certain situations in the public service. There was nothing, however, to prevent the authority which issued the order from rescinding it; and it must be quite clear, that the executive must be allowed to select, on its own responsibility, those whom it considered best fitted to fill those high and important offices. That, he believed, too, was the constitutional doctrine upon that point. The present Bill, instead of doing away with individual responsibility, would enforce it as completely as it possibly could be enforced. He concurred in the objection that had been started to having part of the business of the department carried on in Somerset House, and part at the Admiralty. The result of this Bill he, however, expected, would be, to consolidate all the offices, and have the business done under one roof. As to the objections about the audit, the present was not the fit opportunity to introduce or to answer them: at the same time that portion of the business was better discharged now than heretofore, when such a strange ignorance as to the disposal of sums voted for different purposes was exhibited. The Gentlemen at the opposite side now appeared to approve very much of having a balance-sheet, but it was only justice to observe, that there never had been any thing like a balance-sheet, until he caused one to be prepared last year. That, he must admit, was necessarily an imperfect document, because it professed to give an account of money under different heads; whereas, with respect to the expenditure on foreign stations, it could include merely an estimate. He intended to obviate that difficulty in future, by establishing a regulation that six months should be allowed after the expiration of the financial year, for 1349 the returns from foreign stations to be completed. With respect to the objection made to the discharge of officers, was the Crown or its advisers to be limited as to their power of dismissing persons whom they knew to be incompetent?
§ Sir Byam Martin
said, as to the officers alluded to, there were none so competent to be found within the empire, as they were men both of high intellect and great experience. The person now selected in their stead was a good practical seaman, but ignorant as a shipwright. It had been said, that he was sore at being turned out of office. That was not the case, and he was glad to get away; for he could not vote for Reform, and would not vote for Lord Ebrington's Motion; and, not being the man to do the Government work, the Government were right in putting him out of office.
said, that, having on a former occasion, when the Bill was first introduced into the House, declared that he believed, the extinction of the Navy Board would be the greatest possible boon to the service, and all employed in it, he would then, with leave of the House, endeavour to prove that he had not made that assertion unadvisedly, and that the Navy Board, as at present constituted, was a source of hinderance to the service, and vexation to the officers employed. But first, he begged most distinctly to guard himself from meaning any thing personal or disrespectful towards the gallant Officer opposite, for he was bound to say, that the same source which had confirmed his early impressions as to the Navy Board, that very same source, namely, his brother officers (he not having the honour of the gallant Officer's personal acquaintance), had always taught him to look up to the gallant Officer as one whose character and conduct reflected honour on the station he had obtained in the service. His remarks were directed against the Board as constituted, and its working, or rather its not working, in unison with the Admiralty. An hon. Baronet opposite, on a former occasion, had remarked that, probably his dislike to the Board was in consequence of that Board being a check upon officers, and not giving way to every alteration that the officers might fancy an improvement. Now, he begged to assure the hon. Baronet, that he by no means thought that placing the officer completely under the Admiralty as one Board, instead of two, as heretofore, the whims and ca- 1350 prices of officers who were more likely to be attended to, unless, indeed, they were decided improvements, and then, he trusted, they would meet with that attention which was invariably denied by the Navy Board. He would now endeavour to show the House in what way vexation and hinderance existed, and in recent instances, within his own knowledge, in so doing he should be obliged to use many technical terms, which he feared might not be thoroughly understood by all hon. Gentlemen. The first cases he would refer to were those of the Pearl and Nimrod, when they were ordered to be fitted out. On the officers joining those ships, the Pearl being 550 tons, and the Nimrod about 500, they found that each ship was fitted with the rigging of the size and quantity of an eighteen-gun brig, or vessel of 387 tons. The officers pointed out the absurdity of such an arrangement, but the only answer that met them was—such is your establishment, such is the Navy Board order. The commander of the Pearl, finding the size and capacity of his ship equal to and requiring a fourth pump—and the House should bear in mind that, on the quantity of the pumps might depend the saving of the ship—requested that it might be furnished to her; the same answer met him again—it is not your allowance, it is against the Navy Board order. Although, at that moment, there was a ship of fifty tons less burthen lying alongside the Pearl, into which ship the fourth pump was crammed, because she was called a frigate, and commanded by a captain, as if the rank of the officer, and not the size and capacity of the ship, were to determine the number of her pumps. The Pearl shortly after went to the Irish station, and in a very few months, on being ordered to Portsmouth for some alteration in her mast and yards, the rigging, which was new, and had only been in use a few months, was found to be totally inadequate for its intended duties; one short cruise had torn the heart out of it, and it was found necessary to supply the Pearl with new rigging of a much larger size, and, at the same time, the fourth pump was added. The Nimrod also went on the Irish station, and the officer commanding her shortly afterwards made a most comprehensive and elaborate statement as to the outrageous weight and size of her masts and yards, she, too, having the rigging of an eighteen gun brig. Her yards were so square and so overlocked in stays, that it was not without considerable 1351 difficulty and danger that the ship could work in and out of the beautiful harbour of Cork, much less venture to visit the more dangerous and narrow harbours that it was her duty to visit on the Irish station. Notwithstanding that this statement, made by as an efficient officer and as good a seaman as ever commanded a ship—he would name him to the House, he alluded to Commander Rudford—notwithstanding that such statement was confirmed by the personal observation and experience of the Commander-in-Chief of the station, no alteration was permitted by the Navy Board. It was said, and it was believed, that the Nimrod had been masted under the direction of a Mr. Knowles, a clerk in the Navy Office. He did not know that this was so or not, but be he who he might that masted her, he had mare influence with the Board than the excellent officer who commanded the ship, backed by the known judgment of his Admiral. What was the consequence? Every thing the officer foretold came to pass: in less than two years the ship had no less than three gangs of new rigging, sprung one main-mast and two bowsprits, and was constantly in the hands of the dock-yard; indeed, he firmly believed, had she been in less skilful hands titan those of Commander Rudford, something very serious would have happened to her. The last time that it became necessary to supply her with new main rigging, it did so happen that he (Captain Berkeley), during the temporary absence of the Commander-in-Chief, was in the command at Cork, and at the earnest request of Commander Rudford, he had authorized an increase in the size of the rigging, which was cut out of a hawser; thereby gaining eighty yarns in each shroud; but, notwithstanding this increase, he understood that, on the ship being paid off at Plymouth, it was still found too small, and he had heard that the main rigging was to be transferred to the foremast. He trusted he had said enough to prove the total inefficiency of a Board so acting, and that, through that Board, hinderance and vexation existed. But he would trespass on their time a short while longer, to prove that the Admiralty and Navy Boards did not always act in conjunction. On sending home the accounts of the Semiramis, in May 1829, he shortly afterwards received a letter from the Navy Board accusing him of inadvertency in keeping those accounts, and cautioning him not to 1352 be guilty of the like in future. As he was not in the habit of tolerating inadvertencies in those under him, it was far from pleasing to his feelings to receive such a letter from a superior Board; he wrote back to say, that he was not aware of any inadvertency, and that his accounts were kept according to order—the reply was a repetition of the former letter. Knowing that the Board had the power to place his pay under stoppages, and that that would be the effect of such a correspondence, he was obliged to send a copy of the Admiralty order, by which his accounts were regulated. The Navy Board, therefore, were ignorant of the orders of the Admiralty, or did not think fit to act upon those orders. He had taken upon himself to state, on a former occasion, that no improvement, no plan in building which did not emanate from Sir Robert Seppings, was attended to by the Board, and that fair play had not been given to others. He had a letter from Mr. Roberts, the builder of Plymouth dock-yard, fully confirming the statements he had then made, and he believed that Captain Symonds had equal cause of complaint. [Hear, hear! from Sir Byam Martin.] If the hon. and gallant Officer doubted it, with the permission of the House, he would read an extract of a letter from that Gentleman. 'When the late Admiralty directed the Navy Board to construct the Colombine Sloop of War on the plans of Captain Symonds, and on the responsibility of Lord Vernon, who agreed to pay for her if she was found not to answer after a sufficient and efficient trial, Captain Symonds waited on Sir Byam Martin (the Comptroller) with a copy of his plans, as a compliment to the Comptroller; but Sir Byam Martin not only refused to look at them, but rejected the offer even with rudeness.' For these reasons he thought the Board ought no longer to exist, and he should, therefore, support the Bill as introduced by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Admiralty with the greatest satisfaction.
§ Sir George Clerk
said, that, as the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Admiralty's former speech had been fully refuted by the right hon. Gentleman who was formerly Secretary to that Board, and by documents on the Table, he had been anxious to hear any new reasons that might be urged by the right hon. Baronet for proceeding with this Bill, but they all resolved themselves into complaints of the conduct of the Navy Board. These had 1353 not, however, the least foundation in fact, and many of them were the results of Admiralty orders. The right hon. Baronet had, however, restated that there was a constant under-current of opposition on the part of the subordinate Boards to the orders issued by the Admiralty; all he (Sir G. Clerk) could say in answer to that charge was, that he had never felt it during the time he had a seat at that Board. With respect to the quantity of stores in the dock-yards not corresponding with those that ought to remain by the Store Ledger, he thought the difference might be traced to the discharge of many of the superior officers. Before that event took place, there had been no deficiency of copper, for their control over the workmen was effectual. As the right hon. Baronet had admitted, that he was in error with regard to the arrears of the ledger he would only say, that the right hon. Baronet found that error out only in consequence of the remarks made by his hon. and gallant friend. It appeared, however, that the abstracts were not remitted from the dock-yards for the purpose of keeping up the ledger in consequence of orders from the Admiralty, and on this being made known to the right hon. Baronet, on his visit to Somerset House, he ordered the abstracts to be again forwarded, and the book was completed in consequence. With regard to the objection that the Admiralty order relative to the reduction of a certain number of men was not complied with, he thought it had been clearly shown by his right hon. friend, the late Comptroller of the Navy, that the Board over which he presided had acted up to that order both as regarded its letter and spirit. The Admiralty gave orders that a reduction should be made in the number of men employed in the dockyards. On a representation of the distress that would arise from the discharge of so many men at one time at Portsmouth and Plymouth, it was ordered by the Navy Board, that the reductions should be made as casualties might occur, until the whole number of men employed did not exceed 6,000; and this course was in strict accordance with the letter of the Admiralty. The late Navy Board issued an order of the date of the of March, 1830, which, in conformity with the instructions of the Board of Admiralty, was carried into effect in the different dock-yards. These were the only grounds of complaint urged by the right honourable Baronet against the subordinate 1354 Boards, and both had been completely overthrown by the late Comptroller of the Navy. The right hon. Baronet dwelt on the abuses in the subordinate Boards, but the right hon. Baronet had completely failed to prove his charges. He would now beg leave to make a few observations in reply to the hon. and gallant Officer who had stated, that objections were made at the Navy Office to accounts offered by him. But he had not informed the House of the cause, which he (Sir George Clerk), therefore, begged to supply. The fact was, he had not brought forward the necessary documents connected with the expenditure, until he had received two letters from the Navy Board, calling on him for explanation respecting his accounts, which explanation he at last thought proper to afford. On account of the peculiar situation of the Semiramis, an exception was made by the Board of Admiralty in his favour; but it was not until after these steps had been taken, that his statement was considered satisfactory by the Navy Board. What did this prove, but that the Navy Board—a great part of whose duty it was to control the expenditure and examine the accounts of the officers to whom money had been intrusted—vigilantly and properly performed their duty? He, therefore, thought, that the argument which the hon. and gallant Officer had brought forward against the Navy Board was one of the strongest in favour of their vigilance and activity that could have been adduced. Then the gallant Officer told the House, that there were two Sloops of War on the Irish station, whose establishments of rigging, masts, and spars, were not adapted to their size, and that various representations were made to the Navy Board on the subject, to which he paid no attention. Now, he must remind the gallant Officer that these were experimental vessels. They were to be navigated by a crew of 115 men, and the builder was under no restrictions as to the dimensions of the vessels, nor as to the size of the masts and spars. The builder was informed that great inconvenience would arise if (with a crew calculated for a vessel of about 300 or 400 tons) he constructed a vessel of 500 tons; but, notwithstanding these representations, he persisted in building the vessels of that size. If these vessels were improperly rigged, the fault did not lie with the Navy Board, but with the Admiralty Board. He did not mean to say whether it was right or not that they should have such rigging as the gal- 1355 lant Officer had referred to; but this he would say, that whatever was done, was done at the discretion of the individual who tried the experiment, and not by the order of the Navy Board—all of which had previously been sanctioned by the Admiralty. The right hon. Baronet, the first Lord of the Admiralty had stated, that his plan would be attended with very great advantages to the public, on account of its diminishing the correspondence. He (Sir George Clerk) must say, that he thought the right hon. Baronet was entirely mistaken in this view. It was perfectly true, that, at present, the Admiralty had correspondence on matters of detail with the Navy and Victualling Boards; but if the Admiralty was to correspond with the officers themselves, would not the amount of such correspondence be enormous? He knew of no argument used by the right hon. Baronet as to the Navy Board, in respect of direct opposition to, or reluctant acquiescence in, the orders of the Admiralty, which went to prove that it had been prejudicial to the public service. The Navy Board frequently represented to the Admiralty objections to orders issued by them; but when the Superior Board thought proper to issue a peremptory order, there never was, to his knowledge, a disposition on the part of the Navy Board to thwart or impede the due execution of such an order. The Amendment proposed, as the right hon. Baronet said, went to the consolidation of the two Boards—the Navy and Victualling Boards; and such a proposition though he should never have proposed it, would be less objectionable than the plan of the right hon. Baronet. He was not prepared to say, that any great advantages would arise from the consolidation of these departments; but as the right hon. Baronet stated that he was unwilling to do anything hastily and prematurely and did not wish to destroy anything that was useful he would have acted more consistently with this declaration if he had advanced one step at a time—had consolidated these two Boards in the first instance, and tried how they would work together—instead of consolidating the three into one. The right hon. Baronet had stated, that it was desirable to assimilate the naval departments to the Board of Ordnance, and he had gone so far as to affirm on a former occasion, that his plan would be an improvement on the constitution of the Board. 1356 But what was the system of the Board of Ordnance? He considered it to be analogous to the constitution of the naval Departments. The Master-General of the Ordnance was not a member of the Ordnance Board: he stood in precisely the same relative situation, with respect to that Board, as the Lord High Admiral did to the Navy Board. He must further assert notwithstanding the denial of the right honourable Baronet, that the effect of this measure would be to remove the responsibility from himself, and to throw it on Parliament. He objected, therefore, to the Bill, because it was an unfair mode of shrinking from responsibility; and he was decidedly of opinion that before so great and important a change was made, a Select Committee ought to have been appointed to inquire into the whole matter. The right hon. Baronet supposed that his plan would be economical, but he was sure that the proposed alteration could only be effected at considerable expense: and in time of war he had no doubt it would be found productive of great inconvenience. For the purposes of public business, the Admiralty Offices ought not to be removed to Somerset-house, where they would be at a considerable distance from the other offices of Government; and it was particularly necessary that there should be some person residing on the spot, in order to carry into execution whatever was requisite to be done. By the right hon. Baronet's scheme all responsibility would be destroyed. To no part of the plan proposed by the right hon. Baronet was he friendly; and he should, therefore, support the Amendment of his right hon. friend behind him.
regretted that any personal feelings had ever been brought into collision in this matter. It was not against individuals, but against the system, that he felt objections; and such, he believed, were the sentiments entertained by the right hon. Baronet opposite. Something had been said respecting the expenses to which the country had been put in educating persons for naval architecture, and on this subject he had more than once called the attention of the House. It was to be regretted that, of time eighteen individuals who had been so educated for a series of years at a considerable expense, not one could be selected eligible to succeed Sir Robert Seppings, but that an officer of the navy was obliged to be 1357 appointed. That was a point which required explanation, and certainly if these young men were not qualified, the expense of keeping up the establishment at Portsmouth ought not to be tolerated. He did not agree with the right hon. Baronet who had last addressed the Committee in what he stated as to the responsibility in the proper quarter being removed. He believed, on the contrary, that it would strengthen that responsibility. But it had also been insinuated that no great saving would be accomplished. Why, the right hon. Baronet opposite had already stated, that out of seventy clerks who had been heretofore employed, forty only would be retained, and they would be sufficiently numerous to transact the business. It was impossible to suppose that had not the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Admiralty, been fully persuaded of the practicability of the plan, he would have proposed it; nor could it consistently be imagined that he had brought the matter forward without due inquiry and deliberation. He thought, not only in point of money would the Bill be found to effect economy, but also in time. By getting rid of the two steps which intervened between the applicants and Government, economy in time would be effected, and a promptitude in the correspondence also followed; for it had been admitted that the correspondence being carried on between one Board and another until it reached the fountain head, caused not delay only, but much additional labour, which would not be accomplished but by having a numerous body of clerks. Consolidation he looked upon as essential to the effective performance of public business; and consolidation, which was the great object of the Bill, would be rendered nugatory by the Amendment, and he was, therefore, opposed to its adoption. He meant to support the Bill, because he approved of its principle, and he should trust to the executive Government to carry that into effect through all the details of the service.
said, he could not allow that opportunity to pass without stating the reasons which induced him to concur in the Amendment. After a full consideration of this measure, and of all that had passed on the several discussions with respect to it, he was impressed with the opinion, that it was a plan recommended to the House and the country on scarcely any other ground than that of a change in an existing system, and, in the present 1358 temper and spirit of the times, the circumstance of its being merely a change, would prove a very powerful recommendation. He, however, was old-fashioned enough to require, before he acceded to a change, some proof that it was likely to be beneficial and desirable. The change proposed by the right hon. Baronet, was founded on one of two grounds—either on the gross misconduct of the public business under the establishments previously existing, or the comparative superiority of the proposed above the existing system. The right hon. Baronet had, in a great degree, based his plan on the misconduct of the public service in antecedent periods. From the various discussions which had already taken place, and particularly from the speech of the hon. Baronet, the late Comptroller of the Admiralty, it must be clear to every man, that the charges of mismanaging the public business were entirely abandoned. Was the system, then, which the right hon. Baronet proposed, calculated to improve the mode in which this branch of the public business was now conducted? He felt a great hesitation in consenting to make any sudden change in the mode in which the naval business of the country was conducted, particularly when that change was proposed by individuals, who had only been acquainted with that service during a very short period of peace; and when he found that change opposed by persons who had been connected with these departments during long and anxious periods, who had witnessed the urgency of war, and who knew how applicable the exsisting system had been to the circumstances of such a time. If the right hon. Baronet could ensure a state of perpetual peace, he might go a great deal further in his changes, and it would be immaterial whether they were adopted or not; but when they looked to the possibility of war, and when they knew that the fate of the country might one day depend on the good or ill administration of the naval branch of the service, they must view with apprehension, the course which the right hon. Baronet recommended. If he were not convinced of the excellence of the present system, he ought to be cautious how he abolished it, without being convinced that the plan proposed to be substituted, was calculated to meet the circumstances of a war. The real point at issue between the right hon. Baronet (the First Lord of the Admiralty), and his hon. friend (Sir G. Cockburn) was, that the right 1359 hon. Baronet wished to accumulate upon one Board alone, the whole practical Administration of the navy, together with all the details necessary to give effect to the public service. His hon. friend thought they might retain the practical administration distinct in one Board, and that, by having another, and a subordinate Board, practically conversant with the details of the service, they might secure a more efficient discharge of the duties than could be obtained by adopting the course now proposed. He agreed with his hon. friend. The hon. member for Middlesex said, that consolidation was the soul of efficiency. To a certain degree the position of tile hon. Gentleman was correct, but, like every other general principle, it might be carried too far. Extend the principle—consolidate the army and navy, and add the ordnance to it; if this was done by the hon. Gentleman, would they have the most efficient Administration possible? From his experience of official business, he had come to the conclusion, that a fair division of labour was as essential to the efficient conduct of public business, as it was in every branch of manufacture. He also thought it was advisable, in a country governed like this, in which the heads of offices were removed on political changes, that it was very important in the practical branches of the public service to ensure permanency in the subordinate Boards. But look at the constitution and nature of the Board which the right hon. Baronet proposed to appoint. The Bill said, that every thing should be done by the Admiralty. Why, the Admiralty was a Board necessarily changed with every change of Administration. What, then would be the situation of the Medical and Victualling Departments, for instance, of the naval service? The Victualling Board was to be intrusted to a Lord of the Admiralty. He had no doubt that a Gentleman coming into that department, and applying himself with zeal and assiduity to a knowledge of his ditties, might soon master its details; but by the time he acquired that knowledge, or even beffire, he might, from official changes, be removed, and another individual would have to learn the details of the office. By the present constitution of the Board, its permanency secured a permanency in the mode of management, and a change in the Admiralty introduced no change in that department. At present, a subordinate Member of this department, a medical 1360 man, presided over the medical branch, and he was permanently established. Hereafter he would be made a changeable officer, with every administration to the probable injury of the department. The right hon. Baronet would, perhaps, object to his selecting this particular branch of the service in illustration of his argument; but whether pursers' accounts, ship-building, or any other department of the service, was taken, it would be the same. If these departments were intrusted to individuals who, having acquired a competent knowledge of the service, were to act under the control and direction of the Admiralty, forming a superior board that would be a much better plan for the efficiency of the service, while it would guard against the possibility of ignorance or deficiency on the part of those who fill these situations, than the scheme proposed. An hon. Gentleman had said, that there would be a greater responsibility under the proposed system, than under the present. He could, by no means, agree in that opinion, for he considered that, when the head of a Board was responsible, there was a greater share of individual responsibility, than if it was thrown, as the Bill proposed, on the whole Board. However they might legislate, the responsibility of the Board of Admiralty could never be attained. The right hon. Baronet also stated, as another ground for approving this measure, that it would produce a great economy in correspondence. He entertained great doubts on that head. It was most important that records should be kept of every branch of public official transactions. These letters were records; and he could not agree with those hon. Gentlemen, who thought that, by diminishing the number of these records, the efficiency of the service would be improved. But, said the right hon. Baronet, would not every communication which was now made to the Navy Board, be made to the Admiralty, if this Bill were to pass into a law? They had heard that the decisions of the Navy Board were inflounced by Mr. Knowles; and the Lords of the Admiralty would necessarily be driven to require the decision of the chief clerk of the Navy Board. But then the hon. member for Middlesex discovered that the Bill would furnish a very admirable system of audit. It was very justly said, that the essence of an audit was, that the expenditure should be controlled by some person who had also the power to control 1361 the authority of those by whom that expenditure was originally ordered to be made, and that Parliament should be satisfied that those who ordered that expenditure had ordered it on just grounds. Now, did this Bill provide that very necessary remedy against unnecessary expenditure, or did it not? He begged to call the attention of the House to the proviso with which the clause then under consideration concluded, the words were: 'Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be considered to vest in the auditors any discretion as to the allowance or disallowance of any of the items of expenditure in respect of which the usual vouchers have been produced by the Commissioners for executing the office of the Lords of the Admiralty.' Under this Bill, therefore, the Lords of the Admiralty were to be the executive, who were to approve of the expenditure, and they were, in fact, the persons also who were to have the audit of the money, because the Audit Board was not empowered to say one word on the expenditure which the Lords of the Admiralty had sanctioned. He would not enter into a comparison between the audit which was proposed, and that which at present existed or any other, because he could not conceive any system of audit more defective than that adopted in the Bill. He would vote in favour of the Amendment, because it appeared more advisable to adopt the principle of having two Boards instead of three, for the management of the naval service, than to have only one, and, if that experiment should prove successful, it would then be open to consider the propriety of attempting a further change.
supported the original Resolution. He was glad to hear that the whole of the naval departments were to be consolidated under one Board, which could not fail to lead to a great economy of expenditure, and a greater despatch of business with equal, or even greater, benefit to the service, for an efficient control would be thereby given to the Admiralty. He was sure he was only speaking the sentiments of every officer of the service when he thanked the right hon. Baronet for the introduction of this Bill.
Mr. Keith Douglas
thought that the Admiralty would not be competent to perform the duties of all those Boards now in existence. He supported the Amendment.
objected to the want of 1362 responsibility which could not fail to prevail under the present Bill. To have at least one permanent Board, was, he thought, indispensable. He wished to notice the allusion already made to the superior class of shipwright students, who were so much affected by the late changes, and who would be so much affected by this Bill. He wished to bear his testimony, not only to their professional abilities, but to their competency to perform the duties of the higher branches of the Civil Service of the navy; and he did think that, as these gentlemen had been brought up with the hope (confirmed even by the Royal Sanction) of future advancement, and had been induced to look forward to those higher offices, it was extremely hard their expectations should be disappointed, and that they should be deprived of all prospect of ultimate advancement.
thought that sufficient ground had not been shown by the right hon. Baronet for making such a great change in one of the most important services of the country. He was certainly of opinion that the recommendations of naval men were not the best upon which to establish civil regulations, and he knew that when their opinions had been offered, they had frequently been met by opposing opinions from the subordinate Boards. He was, therefore, surprised that the right hon. Baronet had adopted this plan at the sugestion of a Board consisting of naval officers. He could not give his consent to the measure, because he thought that in time of war, the service would not be efficient. It was by no means a novelty, and when it was tried formerly, and failed, the extent of the service was nothing like what it was at present.
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
thought that this was an unnecessary and unfounded interference with a system which had made the naval service of the country, the greatest and the most efficient that ever existed. He was of opinion, that the best way to effect improvement was, first to ascertain what defects really existed. He would not run the risk, upon mere speculative grounds, of injuring the strength and power of the country by a measure like the present.
§ The Committee divided upon the Amendment: Ayes 50; Noes 118—Majority 68.
§ Clauses agreed to, and the House resumed.
|List of the NOES.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Stanley, Rt. Hn. E. G. S.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Stephenson, H. F.|
|Atherley, A.||Strickland, G.|
|Baring, F. T.||Stuart, Lord P. J.|
|Benett, J.||Strutt, E.|
|Berkeley, Captain||Thicknesse, R.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Brougham, J.||Thompson, Alderman|
|Burton, H.||Tomes, J.|
|Buxton, T. F.||Torrens, Col. R.|
|Campbell, J.||Tracey, C. H.|
|Carter, J. B.||Venables, Alderman|
|Cavendish, Lord||Vernon, Hon. G. J.|
|Crampton, P. C.||Villiers, T. H.|
|Creevey, T.||Vincent, Sir F.|
|Denman, Sir T.||Warburton, H.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Warre, J. H.|
|Dundas, Hon. J. C.||Wason, W. R.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Wellesley, Hn. W. T. L.|
|Ellice, E.||Wilks, J.|
|Evans, Col. De Lacy||Williams, Sir J.|
|Evans, William B.||Williams, W. A.|
|Ewart, William||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Fazakerley, J. N.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Fellowes, H. A. W.||Wood, Alderman|
|Gisborne, T.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J.||SCOTLAND.|
|Harcourt, G. V.||Adam, Admiral C.|
|Hawkins, J. H.||Fergusson, R. C.|
|Heywood, B.||Gillon, W. D.|
|Hobhouse, Sir J. C.||Grant, Rt. Hon. C.|
|Howard, P. H.||Halliburton, Hn. D. G.|
|Howard, Viscount||Johnstone, J.|
|Hughes, Alderman||Loch, J.|
|Hume, J.||M'Leod, H.|
|Jerningham, Hon. H.||Ross, H.|
|King, E. B.||IRELAND.|
|Langston, J. H.||Brabazon, Viscount|
|Langton, Col. G.||Browne, J.|
|Lawley, F.||Bourke, Sir J.|
|Leigh, T. C.||Carew, R. S.|
|Lester, B. L.||Chapman, M. L.|
|Maberly, Col. W. L.||Chichester, Sir A.|
|Macdonald, Sir J.||Grattan, J.|
|Marshall, W.||Howard, R.|
|Mills, T.||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Nugent, Lord||Killeen, Lord|
|Palmer, C. F.||King, Hon. R.|
|Penleaze, J. S.||Lamb, Hon. G.|
|Penrhyn, E.||Leader, N. P.|
|Philips, G. R.||Macnamara, W.|
|Price, Sir R.||O'Connell, M.|
|Robarts, A. W.||Power, R.|
|Rooper, J. B.||Ruthven, E. S.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Sanford, E. A.||Walker, C. A.|
|Schonswar, G.||White, S.|
|Smith, G. R.||Wyse, T.|
|Smith, J. A.||TELLER.|
|Smith, R. V.||Rice, Hon. T. S.|
|Spencer, Hon. Capt.|