HC Deb 11 May 1854 vol 133 cc209-10

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he considered that the right hon. Baronet should have explained more fully this measure to the House than he had done. The whole scope of the Bill seemed merely to revert to the plan that was adopted in 1739, and which gave universal dissatisfaction. He had reason to believe that the measure was regarded by the Navy generally as obtrusive, and was neither requisite nor desirable. The officers of the Navy had never, that he was aware of, expressed any dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Navy agents, and he could not see either the utility or expediency of substituting regimental agents in their place.


said, that the Bill was framed for the express purpose of obviating the abuses which were proved to exist during the last war. Failures on the part of Navy agents were common during that war, and he had a list before him which showed that from 200,000l. to 300,000l. was lost through the failure and misconduct of those persons. The proceeds of the sales of prizes being paid into the hands of Navy agents, they had a deep interest in delaying the division of the proceeds, they having, until the proceeds were divided, the whole benefit of the use of the money of the captor. The object of the Bill was to ensure the prompt sale of the prize by a Government officer. From the moment the sale should be effected the proceeds of it would be paid to a public account, in England, opened at the Bank of England abroad, either with the Commissariat or a Navy agent, and the public would be liable for the full amount of the proceeds. There would, therefore, be prompt payment and ample security, and, as related to the interest of the captor, power was given to the captor to nominate his own agent. He was quite ready to meet bon. Members in Committee on the question, and he felt assured that if the measure were fairly and dispassionately viewed, it would be found that, in every respect, the interest of the service had been studiously consulted.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2o.

The House adjourned at half after One o'clock.