§ Sir Charles Napier
wished to know whether the proposed increased amount to be voted in the Navy Estimates, was to be devoted entirely to steam ships. He would put it to the right hon. Baronet, that before he expended any money for this purpose, he should institute a full and proper inquiry into the present state of our Steam Navy. If this was not done, he should feel it to be his duty to oppose any such increased expenditure, as it would be only throwing money away.
§ Sir R. Peel
stated, that the addition to the Naval Estimates for that branch of the public service, and the ordnance connected with it, would be about 960,000l.; but he did not specify that it was for any particular class. The additional number of men would be 4,000, and there would also be a charge for the basins for steam vessels at Portsmouth and Devonport. Of course for any new ships it would be necessary to take care that they were built on the best principle.
§ Sir C. Napier
was sure that the right hon. Baronet was as anxious as he was himself that this country should have as effective a steam force as possible. All that he asked was to have an investigation as to the present Steam Ships in the Navy, so that they might see whether they had or had not been proceeding on right and sound principles. It was not from any political motive that he pressed this on the Government, but he considered it was absolute folly to throw hundreds of thousands of pounds away in building ships which were useless. He conceived that he was justified from his past experience to press the matter on the attention of the Government; and all that he asked was, that a Commission of competent persons should be appointed before they made a further expenditure, to see whether they were going on the right or the wrong road.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes past nine.