§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he wished to put a question to the hon. Gentleman the Clerk of the Ordnance with respect to a projectile which had been invented some nine months ago, and which the hon. Gentleman 1657 said had been under consideration the whole of that time. He wished to know why so long a time had been allowed to elapse without any answer being given to the inventor. The questions he had to put in accordance with the notice he had placed upon the paper were—Is it true that some experiments were tried at Shoeburyness last week, under the superintendence of the Colonel in command of the Royal Artillery, with the following important results: That with only about half charges of powder, and from a common gun, with a trifling alteration, the experimental shells acquired, at similar elevations, upwards of 1,000 yards more effective range than the solid shot of the service with a full charge, and that the average deflection of the experimental shell fired was only fourteen yards in this increased distance, while that of the service shot, at the smaller range, was forty-seven yards? Further, is it true that this invention has been nine months before the Government; that at first it was reported to he of no importance; that, on its being pressed upon the notice of the Duke of Newcastle, it was referred to the Select Committee at Woolwich in January last, and experimentally proved successful in March; and that no assistance has been afforded to the inventor for maturing his invention, beyond merely authorising a few experiments to be made at his expense? Further, is there any obstacle to the adoption and use of this great improvement in the effectiveness of our artillery? Considering that our army had now been before Sebastopol almost a year, the above were important questions, to which he hoped a satisfactory answer would be given.
§ MR. FRENCH
said, that perhaps the hon. Gentleman could at the same time give some information in regard to the Report of the Commission appointed by Lord Raglan to inquire into the merits of Captain Disney's projectile?
§ MR. MONSELL,
in reply, said, that the result of the experiments made during the last week at Shoeburyness was generally in accordance with the statement contained in the hon. and learned Gentleman's questions, except in regard to the shells being fired from a common gun with a trifling alteration, they having in fact been fired from a rifle gun, while the service shot was fired from a smooth-bored gun. It was true that the invention had been nine months under the consideration of the Government. It was first referred to General Cator, the 1658 Director General of Artillery, who, from the repeated failure of the shells fired, did not think it worth while to continue the experiments. However, subsequently, in the month of March, it was brought before the Duke of Newcastle, who directed public experiments to be made, the result of which was to show that the projectile in question was inferior to the service shot. In May there was another experiment, and with similar results. The projectile experimented upon the other day, of Mr. Brasbley Brittens, which was somewhat different from his former one, and which was in some respects an improvement upon it, was more successful. With regard to the last question, the invention had been referred to the Committee at Woolwich, and if it was considered worthy of adoption, would be recommended to the General Commanding in Chief. In reply to the question of the hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. French) he had to observe that Captain Disney had wainted upon him (Mr. Monsell) about a fortnight ago, to inquire if any report had been received from the Commission appointed by Lord Raglan to inquire into the merits of his invention, and he told him that no such report had arrived.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Gentleman had not answered his question, whether it was true that the experimental shells acquired, at similar elevations, upwards of 1,000 yards more effective range than the solid shot of the service with a full charge, and that the average deflection of the experimental shell was only fourteen yards in that increased distance, while that of the service shot at the smaller range was forty-seven yards?
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he had informed the hon. and learned Member in the first words he spoke that the statement contained in his question was perfectly accurate, except in regard to the guns from which the projectiles were fired.