HC Deb 22 July 1844 vol 76 cc1176-8
Captain Pechell

, hearing that a very extraordinary experiment had been made on Saturday off the town of Brighton, and that Captain Warner had succeeded in utterly destroying the merchant vessel experimented upon, wished to know whether the experiment had been made at the expense of Government, and with its sanction, or whether they had received any official report upon the result?

Sir R. Peel

had not seen any account of the matter except that given in the public journals. The experiment had not been made at the expense or in consequence of communication with Government. It was true that Government had been in communication with Captain Warner upon the subject, and had proposed to allot a certain sum for the purpose of making the experiment, under the direction of certain officers to be appointed by Government. Captain Warner declined this offer upon the grounds of the insufficiency of the sum proposed. The vessel upon which the experiment of Saturday had been tried was furnished, as he understood, by a private individual, and the experiment made at his expense.

Captain Pechell

Then Government has received no official report?

Sir R. Peel

None whatever.

Captain Plumridge

seeing the noble Lord, the Member for South Staffordshire, in his place, begged to ask him if he had any objection to state what his opinion as a naval officer was with respect to the recent experiment tried by Captain Warner off the coast at Brighton?

The Speaker

interposed, and reminded the hon. and gallant Member, that the noble Lord, not holding any official position in Her Majesty's Government, was not called upon to answer any question of the nature put to him, unless it pleased him to do so.

Lord Ingestre

said, he had no manner of doubt that it was notorious to the hon. and gallant Member, as it was to the whole House, that an experiment had been tried, on Saturday last, upon a large ship, which had been shattered and sunk by the force of certain projectiles, the invention of Captain Warner. He was not at liberty to disclose either the materials by which the destruction was effected, nor the manner in which it was done; but perhaps it would afford some pleasure and satisfaction to the public if he read a document to the House which had been drawn up entirely with reference to the subject. The noble Lord then read the following certificate:— We, the undersigned, hereby certify that the operations against the John O'Gaunt, of 300 tons, conducted by Captain Warner, off Brighton, on Saturday the 20th instant, were under our management and control. We further certify that the explosion did not take place from any combustible matter either on board or alongside the ship, but was caused by Captain Warner, who was on board the William Wallace steamer, having the ship in tow at a distance of about 300 yards, and that the explosion took place in consequence of a signal made by us from the shore, the time of which was not previously known by Captain Warner. We further declare our belief that Captain Warner has never been on board the ship since she left Gravesend. INGESTRE, Captain, R. N., C. B. T. DICKENSON, Captain, R. N. W. H. HENDERSON, Captain, R. N., C. B. The insertion of his own humble name might excite some ridicule; but that of Captain Henderson would at once excite respect, and he had that gallant Officer's authority for stating that his opinion entirely coincided with that which he (Lord Ingestre) had formed relative to this matter, and when the time came for further communications respecting this most important invention, he was perfectly ready to come forward and take such steps as might be necessary.

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