HC Deb 20 May 1842 vol 63 cc566-82

The Speaker left the Chair. House in committee of supply.

Captain Boldero

rose for the purpose of bringing forward the Ordnance Estimates. He assured the committee, that every item had been most minutely examined to ascertain how far practical economy could be carried without lessening efficiency. The consequence was that he was enabled to lay upon the Table estimates amounting to 59,000l. less than last year: it was right, however, to add that the calculations had been made with reference to the force sanctioned by the House to be maintained both for the army and navy. The Ordnance Department, as store-keepers, was responsible for an adequate supply of warlike stores, both to vessels of war and to the army, and the expenses must necessarily depend upon the amount of force maintained. The national warehouses must at all times be furnished with stores of all kinds, and for all emergencies, so that if an adversary took a step, this country might at once be prepared to take a step beyond him. If such were not the case, a heavy imputation would justly lie against the Ordnance Department. It was his duty to call attention to the unfortunate, melancholy, and disastrous intelligence from India; a great additional expenditure had thus been thrown upon the department to which he was attached, and it would be his unthankful task before the conclusion of the Session to ask for a grant to cover charges rendered necessary by the exigencies of the case. The reduction this year was, as he had said, 59,000l., and but for particular circumstances, over which the department had no control, it would have been considerably more. One of these circumstances was the unfortunate catastrophe, the conflagration at the Tower, which had rendered a demand for a heavy vote imperatively necessary. Last year it had been decided by Government and sanctioned by the House, that the muskets of the army should be changed from flint to percussion, and a vote was taken by the Master-General of the Ordnance for a larger sum than had ever been required since the year 1815, viz., 130,000l. Large as that sum was, it had not been found sufficient, and this year 50,000l. more would be required for the same purpose. He would take this opportunity of disabusing the public mind, and of removing an erroneous impression as to the amount of loss by the late fire. He had seen the loss stated at sums between half a million and 250,000l., but it was with some satisfaction he informed the House that the real loss would scarcely exceed half the smaller amount he had mentioned: 128,000l. was all that would be required to repair the damage which had been so unfortunately caused. It might be interesting to the committee to know the number of small arms consumed, and the whole amount of the loss sustained by the public. The number of small arms in the Tower on the night of the fire was 94,500 stand, but of these there were 12,000 stand which had been condemned as unserviceable, and there were saved about 4,000, which would reduce the whole loss to 78,500 stand of arms. The entire value of the collection to the public was 168,000l.; there were saved a little more than 20,000l. worth, and there was lost in the shape of trophies and other articles which could not be replaced 20,000l., leaving the whole loss therefore to be provided for 128,000l. [Viscount Palmerslon: Does that include the building?] As to the value of the building different opinions had been taken. From the state in which it was previously to the fire, it would have been neither prudent nor sound policy to have it repaired; the large number of arms in the upper story had caused the walls to bulge out from a perpendicular. But the upper story had been relieved by the noble Lord, who had kindly sent 168,000 stand of arms away for the use of the Queen of Spain; the necessity for using that story was then taken away, and the basement could have been used for four or five years more, so that the value of the building was very small. By the unforeseen circumstance, however, of its destructiou, an addition of 50,000l. had been thrown on the estimates to make up for the loss occasioned by the fire. If they looked to the amount of the army extraordinaries transferred to the Ordnance Department by the Treasury minute of January 21, 1840, they would find that a sum of 64,000l. was asked when the whole amount taken last year was 32,000l. There was not the shadow of blame resting on the late board that the vote was not equal to the expenditure; the commissariat department had since made certain returns, in consequence of which the amount then granted had fallen short 16,000l.; to remedy that he this year proposed to take a double vote. There was another item which was not in the late estimates, and which he thought he ought particularly to mention. It amounted to 7,000l., and arose from the birth of an heir to the Throne of these realms, in consequence of which her most gracious Majesty had been pleased to command a brevet in the army and navy to commemorate an event so joyful to the nation. The present vote was calculated on an expenditure of seventeen months, so that next year the vote would be only 5,000l. When his two hon. Friends near him had introduced the army estimates and the navy estimates, they had taken a brief but explicit view of each particular vote, and had explained the cause of the increase or diminution under each particular head. He would, therefore, imitate their example, and briefly detail the different heads of increase and diminution. The present estimates were divided into ten votes, and the whole increase was not more than 3,000l. and it took place in three only of those votes. The first vote which he would allude to stood on the list No. 1, the vote for the civil establishments at the Tower and Pall-mall, for the departments at Woolwich, for the out-stations in the United Kingdom, and for foreign stations. For the civil services in all these departments there was an increase of 2,196l., but that increase arose chiefly from the sum of 1,325l. in the salaries on foreign stations, not hitherto borne by the estimate, so that the whole increase of the estimate was about 800l., caused by the increase in the salaries for the services of the civil servants, arising from length of service. On the fourth vote, for the barrack establishment, there was an increase only of 86l., the difference of 1,315l., being caused by the salaries to the barrack masters and sergeants in the colonial barracks of Jamaica, which had not hitherto been borne by the Ordnance estimates, and which would cause no actual expenditure by the Government, the colony being credited for the whole amount. The next vote on which there was an increase was the 9th, the superannuated vote, and that arose from the extra 7,000l. to which he had alluded, owing to the brevet. Those were the only three votes on which there was any increase. The diminution, he was happy to say, covered all the increase, and left 58,998l. to spare. In the vote No. 2, for the royal engineers, and the sappers and miners, there was a small diminution of 411l., arising from the promotion of officers by the late brevet, which caused a less sum to be granted for length of service. The next decrease was in the third vote for the Royal Artillery. The effective force of this corps was the same as last year, but there was a diminution of 3,706l., which arose in consequence of a different arrangement that he (Captain Boldero) had introduced respecting the clothing and pay of the gentlemen cadets. He found that the expense of the academy at Woolwich had been voted in four votes, under different heads, so that even to the most practised the expense was not very clear, and he had thought it better to place under one view the whole of the expenditure for the academy. If they turned to appendix D, they would find the whole expense of the military academy and of the gentlemen cadets to be 16,081l., of which there was received as contributions from the friends of the gentlemen cadets 14,485l., and stoppages for clothing, &c., 100l., together 14,585l.; leaving the only sum to be voted by the public 1,496l.; and when they looked at the sum voted last year, which amounted to 3,756l., it would be found that the vote which he asked was less by 2,260l. than the vote of last year. In the vote No. 5, also for Ordnance works, barrack-masters' and store-keepers' expenditure, there was a considerable diminution, viz., 7,616l.; and that would be increased to 17,116l.; for in the vote he had taken credit, 4,500l. for barracks in Jamaica, and 5,000l. for barracks in the Mauritius—services not hitherto borne upon the Ordnance estimates, for the repair of barracks in those two colonies —as the vote stood, however, even with this addition, it was 7,616l. less than last year. In the sixth vote, also for military and civil contingencies, there was a diminution of 16,714l. that vote had undergone great consideration and great alteration, but the diminution arose chiefly from the circumstance that the survey of Ireland being nearly completed, a less sum was required for that duty. The seventh vote, for stores, was less by 184l. that sum was in itself trivial, but there was no vote that had undergone more consideration. Notwithstanding the increase of 50,000l. for small arms, there had been a diminution in the stores required for the surveys, of 8,000l.; in the supply of iron ordnance, shot, shells, &c, for the navy of 34,000l.; for bedding, furniture, &c, of 8,000l. The vote No. 8, was, what was termed the unprovided services. The whole amount now required was 2,788l., for the expenses caused in Syria; and by comparing this sum with the vote of last year, there would appear a diminution of 2,791l. The last vote to which he would allude was No. 10, for commissariat supplies for the United Kingdom, on which there was a diminution of 29,481l., and it arose from the contract rate of meat, fuel, forage, and straw, being less this year, and from the application of stores purchased for Canada, which had not been sent out. Having thus gone over all the votes, he would turn to Appendix A. The committee would there find a list of the important works now in progress in the engineering department. All these works had been before the House; they had been sanctioned by the House. The House was aware of each and every item, except of one 18,000l. for permanent barracks at Newcastle in Jamaica, caused by the loss of our soldiers in the old bar racks in that colony. Under the head of contemplated works, there was an extra vote for a sum of 3,952l. for barracks for the Royal Artillery at Kingston, in Canada, the troops not being able to reside in their present unhealthy situation. The only new work was a new practice range at Woolwich; this was the only work for which, as a whole, the present Government was responsible; and this had been rendered essential by later circumstances, although the old range never was adequate. The greatest extent of the old range was only 1,250 yards between the battery and the mark, and when they recollected that they had mortars and howitzers capable of projecting shots and shells for three miles, whilst their range was only 1,250 yards, it was clear that it was impossible to test their powers. With 1,250 yards range, they met with the river, and although their shot and shell could be carried three miles they could not so carry them because of the impediments in the river. This had always been an impediment, but formerly there were intervals of more than an hour, it was now more crowded in consequence of the use of steam. By a return he had prepared, it appeared that in the course of twelve or thirteen hours there were upwards of 400 boats and vessels passing, which so obstructed the progress of the experiments, that it was absolutely necessary to have a new ground provided. Last year the artillery had marched their nine pounders down eighteen times, and had had to go back without firing a shot, and it was not uncommon to go five or six times without practice. All those facts rested on the authority of Lord Bloomfield himself. It was a great evil, that the artillery often left Woolwich for other places without having seen a shot fired. They had heard of sixty-eight pounders, of fifty-six pounders, and of ten-inch howitzers; they knew by theory how to fire them, but in practice they had never seen a shot fired. The names of the officers for service were kept on a roster, and when officers were required they were selected out of the roster from those who had been at Deal, and had there had an opportunity of witnessing what they could not see at Woolwich. The officers who had been fortunate enough to have seen this practice were selected out of their turn for service. This could not but create discontent—it struck at the root of all discipline, and disgusted officers with the service; and all these evils were caused by the Government not providing a proper range for artillery practise. He had dwelt at some length on this subject, because, after a service of twenty years in the Ordnance, he knew its importance and he thought that, in endeavouring to obviate the impediments to which he had alluded, the Government were justified in incurring some expense, and that the House would deem the course they took perfectly justifiable. The Government asked for 2,000/. for building new batteries, and 400/. a-year for the hire of ground for two or three days in the week for the purposes of the practice. He believed that this measure would tend to advance the science of gunnery, and to render still more efficient a branch of the service which now excited the admiration—and he might say the envy—of all foreigners who witnessed its evolutions. He concluded by moving, That 121,827l. be granted for the service of her Majesty, for defraying the salaries at the Tower and in Pall-mall, the expenses of the establishments at Woolwich, on out-stations, and on foreign stations.

Mr. W. Williams

would have been satisfied with the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, if he had added what was the additional amount likely to be required in an extraordinary estimate in consequence of the disastrous news from India. There was one item, however, in the vote now proposed to which he wished to call the attention of the committee—it related to the expenditure of the barrack department. He thought that a great reduction might be effected in the vast expenditure for store-keepers. There were eighty-seven store-keepers in charge of seventy barracks, and of these seventeen were deputy store-keepers. He was quite at a loss to discover the utility of deputy store-keepers where store-keepers were employed. These seventeen deputies cost the country 6,290l. a-year in salaries alone; and he could not conceive that any necessity could exist for them. For instance there appeared to be a store-keeper at Hobart Town with a salary of 430l., and a deputy with a salary of 280l.; and there were only four clerks with these two superior officers. The same remark applied to Barbadoes and other places. He found that in one half of the establishments the store-keeper combined with his duties the duties of barrack-master, and, unless he were informed to the contrary, he did not see why all barrack-masters should not perform the duties of store-keepers. He believed that a considerable saving might be effected under this head without any, detriment to the public service, or any insecurity to the stores. The cost of barracks in the colonies appeared most extraordinary. He found by a return lately made to the House, that from the year 1826 to the present year, 1,528,000l. had been expended for barracks in the colonies, or, in fifteen or sixteen years, the sum thus expended had averaged 100,000l. a-year; and that was independent of the large sum expended for barrack-masters, i which, by the present estimate, was 30,000l. and independent also of a large expenditure for fortifications and other public works connected with the colonies. When, therefore, he took the annual sums thus paid for the defence of the colonies, and the amount paid for the monopolies in the shape of differential duties, made to favour the colonies, he doubted whether this country would be a loser if it made a present to the colonies of all the merchandise they purchased in the course of a year. He believed that the whole colonial expenditure required serious attention. The government of the United States was said to be the cheapest to the inhabitants in the world, but the Government of Canada was cheaper still to the population, because they saddled the expences of the colony upon this country. He asked why the colonies should not maintain themselves? With respect to the West-India colonies especially, who enjoyed a monopoly here, he said they should be called upon to contribute at least a part of their expenditure, and to relieve the people of this country from being taxed for their government. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had referred to Appendix A. He would be glad of some explanation of the 62,000l., embraced in two grants, for the new barracks in the central and Manchester districts; he could not find any estimate of the probable expenditure.

Captain Boldero

said, that the hon. Gentleman had alluded to several votes not then under discussion, but he would confine his observations to the present vote. The hon. Gentleman objected to the employment of deputy storekeepers, and he would explain the circumstances of their appointments. There were seventeen deputies, three of whom were in the home service, and fourteen in the colonies. In the year 1821, at the various Stations where there were now deputy storekeepers there were two individuals doing duty who bore the appellation of clerk of survey and clerk of check, and it was proposed to abolish both offices. The clerk of check had to attend the muster of the men at the works, to superintend them when at work, and to look carefully over the tools, to see that they were not improperly lost or spoiled. The clerk of survey's duty was to look to all the stores brought in. These two gentlemen caused an expenditure to the public of 7,560l.; but, by the alteration effected, there had been a saving of 2,560l., which would have been considerably increased, had it not been necessary to make an extra expenditure of 1,000l. at Sydney, Hobart Town, and Sierra Leone. The hon. Gentlemen had also asked whether he could form any idea of the extra expenditure, owing to the disastrous accounts from India; he believed he could not show what that extra expenditure would be. The demands of the Horse Guards were severe and pressing; they must be provided for. He did not yet know the amount, or whether it would be necessary to make a supplementary estimate.

Lord A. Lennox

did not rise to object to these estimates; they were, in his opinion, framed with judicious care, not only with a view to economy, but also to that which was of more consequence—general efficiency; but he wished to call the attention of his hon. and gallant Friend, and of the gallant General who presided over this department with so much credit to himself, and with so much advantage to the army, to one point. His hon. and gallant Friend was of course aware, that the officers of the army were allowed a certain proportion of fuel, of coals, and of candles, in barracks; but that if they were married men, out of barracks, they did not receive these rations; he did not see why the principle of the rations should not be extended to both. He wished further to be informed whether any or what steps were being taken with reference to the formation of libraries, fives courts, and cricket grounds.

Captain Boldero

said, that his noble Friend must be aware, that the Board of Ordnance was not responsible in any way for the issuing of the orders by which the fuel was supplied to the army. The warrant by which this done, was signed by her Majesty, and all that the Board of Ordnance had to do was to obey orders. The object of not extending the operation of the warrant undoubtedly was, that the officers should live near the barracks, and therefore near their men, an object which was deemed to be very desirable to be attained. He would beg to answer the question of the noble Lord, also, by another question, and he begged to ask by what right, or upon what principle of justice, could they refuse that to the soldier which they granted to the officer. Besides, where were they to stop, and to what articles must they limit the issue which was suggested? The subject had been over and over again brought under the consideration of the military authorities of the country, who had invariably declined to deviate from the usual course, on the ground of the great mischief which would be created by doing so. Upon the other point upon which the noble Lord had put a question, he begged to assure the committee, that the Government had not been remiss, but that they availed themselves of every opportunity of providing additional accommodation for the comfort and improvement of the soldiers in every respect.

Sir C. Napier

would not suffer this vote to pass without once more raising his voice upon a subject to which he had before alluded. He believed that it was impossible that the gunnery department of the navy could be properly conducted unless a naval officer was introduced into the Board of Ordnance, and he begged to point out to the right hon. Baronet opposite, that this was a subject in reference to which the public service ought not to suffer, and on this point the right hon. Baronet, ought not to give way to either private or political friendship.

Major Vivian

entirely agreed in the observation of his gallant Friend with regard to the importance of the introduction of a naval man in the Board of Ordnance.

Vote agreed to.

On the proposition of the vote of 533,177l. for Ordnance works and repairs, for store-keepers' expenses, and for building barracks.

Major Vivian

rose and said, that he bad intended to offer some observations to the House upon a subject which had been before under discussion, in relation to something which had fallen from the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland, but that he learned that this vote was to be postponed in consequence of the absence of that noble Lord. The same cause prevented his entering into the explanation to which he had referred, and he could not help saying, that although the right hon. Baronet had, no doubt, acted with great courtesy in endeavouring to meet the wishes of the noble Lord, he had not shown the same anxiety for his convenience. He was exceedingly anxious to leave town, which now he should for a time be prevented from doing.

Sir R. Peel

was exceedingly sorry that in acceding to the wishes of the noble Lord he had put the hon. and gallant Member to inconvenience. It had been agreed that the vote should be postponed upon the request of the noble Lord; but if he had had the slightest notion that such an arrangement would have produced inconvenience to the hon. and gallant Member, it should have come on in its ordinary course: for he felt that he was bound to consult his convenience, rather than that of the noble Lord. He should be most willing to make any arrangement to meet the wishes of the hon. Gentleman.

Major Vivian

did not attach the slightest blame to the right hon. Baronet, but thought that the noble Lord ought to have made him acquainted with the course he intended to take. He should be prepared on Friday next to enter into an explanation, if the matter could then come on.

Vote postponed.

Upon the vote of 208,743l. to defray the expenses of the Ordnance Survey and Civil and Military Contingencies,

Captain Pechell

said, that he thought that it was right that the House should have a candid statement of the present position of the question of the adoption of the invention of Captain Warner. That was an invention which had attracted a great degree of attention, from the extraordinary results said to be capable of being produced through its agency, and much blame had been attached to the late Government for not adopting it. He wished to know what steps the present Government had taken. The invention, as hon. Members were aware, was of a new species of combustible, by which forts and outworks, whole fleets, nay, even the Rock of Gibraltar, it was said, might be destroyed. It was stated that the right hon. Baronet had been present at an experiment which had been tried with it some time ago, when a boat had been blown to atoms at one explosion. What he wished to know was whether any authorised experiments had been made, and if so, whether any report would be made to this House, or whether any information would be afforded so as to show that Captain Warner had been treated in a manner due to his invention? He would take this opportunity of saying that he thought that it was not the most politic course for the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite to accompany the introduction of these estimates to the House with a taunt upon the late Ministry. The observation to which he alluded was that in which the hon. Gentleman had spoken of the interference of the noble Lord in the affairs of Spain, and the sending out a great number of muskets from the Tower. The question of the policy of the late Government with regard to Spain had been long since determined upon by the House, and ought not to form the subject of comment at the present time.

Sir R. Peel

could only repeat the answer which he had given before upon the subject of Captain Warner's invention. It was true, as the hon. Member had stated, that he had been present at an experiment made by Captain Warner, which, so far as it went, had been entirely successful; after which he had had a communication with the late Master-General of the Ordnance, who adopted a course precisely similar to that which he had thought it his duty to take upon his coming into office. That course was to refer the subject to two public responsible officers, who were prepared to conduct the experiments under the direction of Captain Warner, at the public expense. That course had been proposed to Captain Warner upon his coming into office, the officers being respectively of the naval and military service. Captain Warner had declined to accept this offer, unless clogged with a condition to which the Government could not accede. That condition was in reference to the compensation which he was to receive, should his experiments prove successful, and the sum demanded was so enormous, that it was felt impossible to accede to it. That was the present state of the case. As to any charges which might have been made, he knew nothing of them whatever.

Captain Boldero

could not but take this opportunity of saying that in the ob- servations which he had made upon the subject of the affairs of Spain, he had not intended to offer the slightest offence to the noble Lord the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In speaking of the sum of money required on account of the late disaster at the Tower, the noble Lord had asked at what value he placed the building which was destroyed, and he said that it was valueless, because the walls had become bulged by reason of the heavy weight placed on the first floor. He had, however, added that the noble Lord had saved the building from falling by sending away the muskets to Spain, and he had not intended to use this expression in a manner in the smallest degree offensive.

Viscount Palmerston

would only point I out, upon the hon. Gentleman's statement, how very economical the course was which he had taken, for it appeared that his sending away the muskets had saved the building from falling.

Sir Denham Norreys

begged to ask what progress had been made in the Ordnance survey in Ireland?

Captain Boldero

said, that the gallant Officer to whom this survey had been in trusted had applied for an extension of time for the publication of the result of his exertions. This application had been granted, and the gallant Officer was now engaged with another, who had been sent to assist him, in arranging his materials. He had no hesitation in saying that the work, when published, would reflect the highest credit on its author, and would be most useful to the public.

Viscount Ingestre

said, that as his name had been connected with the case of Captain Warner, he wished to say a few words on the subject. He had accidentally become acquainted with Captain Warner's invention; he had looked into it, and had thought at the time it would be of incalculable advantage to the country. He was still of the same opinion, though by some he might be ridiculed, and called credulous. His firm opinion was, that the invention was of the utmost importance to this country, and that any Government that allowed it to leave this country would incur a heavy responsibility, of which, some day or other, it would feel the effects. He had communicated the fact of the invention to the noble Lord at the head of the late Government, desiring him to see the matter looked into—to this he never received any decisive answer, but had been referred from one person to another without any practical result whatever. When the present Government came into office, he had waited upon his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury, and called his attention to the case. His right hon. Friend then said he would look into it, and his right hon. Friend had just now stated to the committee the result of the course it had been thought proper to pursue. He was free to admit the course followed—that of submitting the matter to the heads of the departments most affected by the discovery and invention— was the fitting and becoming course. He understood a commission composed of highly distinguished officers had been appointed to inquire into and examine the invention, but he thought some degree of injustice had been practised towards Captain Warner in the appointment on the commission of a gallant Officer who could not have had sufficient time fully to go into the merits, inasmuch as he was also appointed to the command in the Mediterranean, and was expected to sail in a very short time. Now, he understood the state of the case at present to be this:—Captain Warner declared that he had made several experiments before Sir Richard Keates and Sir Thomas Hardy, which were by them reported to be successful. Captain Warner stated further, that he could by his invention produce results which certainly appeared to be most extraordinary. He added that he had been a long time endeavouring to get a fair hearing—that his anxious wish was, to secure to his native country an invention which, if it got into the possession of any other power, would be productive of sinister and most disastrous results. He said, "What I wish to have before I proceed with my experiments is a guarantee from the Government or from Parliament, that if I succeed in what at present appear improbable results, my discoveries may not be thrown aside, or that I may be told, ' You have shown us how to do it, and we can now manage for ourselves.'" He did not stipulate for any precise or particular sum; but desired, if he satisfied the commissioners, to be appointed by the Government, as to the results he said he could perform (and which appeared certainly to be supernatural), that he should be guaranteed that the Government would not turn round and make it a matter of bargain and sale as to what he was, and what he was not, to have.

Major Vivian

said, that the course pursued by the present Government was the same as that which had been followed by the late Administration. He knew that Lord Melbourne, immediately on learning from the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Ingestre) that such an invention had been made, referred the matter to the Boards of Admiralty and of Ordnance, and his noble relative then at the head of the Ordnance suggested the appointment of three scientific officers of artillery and engineers, who should examine the invention under a pledge of secresy. Now, he could not think that any officer of proper spirit, and with a love of country, who had made such a discovery as this was said to be, would ever make it a subject matter of barter for pounds, shillings, and pence. If the noble Lord opposite had looked over the invention, he possessed a great advantage over the Government and the House. It was true that Captain Warner had stated he could perform what almost appeared miracles; that, for instance, he could by his invention destroy the Rock of Gibraltar; and hence it was that his noble relative thought it desirable, that an inquiry should take place—but Captain Warner refused offers of the fairest nature, and for that reason, and that reason alone, the investigation was put a stop to. Let Captain Warner meet such an inquiry on fair terms, and then throw himself upon the generosity of his country for his reward.

Viscount Ingestre

observed, that when the hon. and gallant Member talked of Captain Warner throwing himself on the generosity of the country, he must remind the hon. and gallant Member that Captain Warner had spent his fortune and a considerable portion of his life in making this invention. He had never, in the long run, objected to show the composition of his invention, but he said, and said justly, "If I let out before any board of commissioners the composition of the material by which I can accomplish the results stated, knowing how boards are composed, I am well aware that, give them but an indication of the secret, and they well know what is to follow." This was not fair to the individual.

Colonel Fox

inquired if the noble Lord could state the terms on which Captain Warner would show his invention, and the sum he wanted for it if he produced the effects stated.

Viscount Ingestre

replied, that he was not authorized to say anything on that subject. He had studiously avoided having anything to say to Captain Warner as to the price he asked for his invention, conceiving that to be a matter entirely between that gentleman and the Government.

Colonel Peel

said, he had read ail that had passed on the subject, and knew all that the late Board of Ordnance had done, with that he entirely concurred, and at the present period it was impossible to come to any other conclusion.

Captain Pechell

said, the noble Lord the Member for Staffordshire had taken an honest and consistent part in saying he considered that the present Government was quite as blameable as the last. He thought it was quite clear that her Majesty's present Ministers had done no more in the matter than their predecessors, and therefore those opposite who had brought charges against Lord Melbourne and the late Board of Ordnance must now admit that those authorities had taken a right and proper course.

Mr. Brotherton

thought both the late and the present Government had used a wise discretion in declining to reward this gentleman for his infernal invention. It appeared to him perfectly horrible for any Government to pay a reward for an invention which was capable, it was said, of destroying a whole nation at once. He hoped the British Parliament would not consent to give any sum of money whatever for such a purpose.

Viscount Ingestre

in explanation, said, he had not admitted that the present and late Government were equally blameable. What he had said was, that after his communication to Lord Melbourne, fifteen or sixteen months elapsed before anything was done in the matter, and that when he called upon his right hon. Friend at the head of the present Administration the matter was taken up at once.

Mr. Williams

said, in the present vote he saw a sum of 18,126l. for the purchase of lands in Bermuda. He begged to inquire for what purpose the purchase was made?

Captain Boldero

replied, that the purchase was the act of the late Government, and had been made in order to erect de- fensive barracks at a short distance from the shore.

Vote agreed to with other votes for the service of the ordnance and the navy.

29,375l. to defray the charges of medicine and medical stores.

44,325l. for the naval miscellaneous service.

497,957l. for military pensions and allowances.

226,100l. for freight of ships and transports and other charges.

95,794l. for expenses of conveying convicts to New South Wales and Van Die-men's Land.

407,549l to defray the charges of the packet service. Resolutions to be reported — House resumed.