HC Deb 14 February 1859 vol 152 c334

said, he rose pursuant to notice to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the great expense which he informed the House had been incurred in procuring the Returns asked for last Session by the hon. Member fur Southwark could not be made available in classifying the books at the Admiralty, so that Returns asked for in future might be given without delay or extra expense.


said, that the question put to him by the hon. Member was not an easy one for him to answer. The answer to such a question depended upon the knowledge of two facts. It was impossible, in the first place, to give a decided answer without searching the muster rolls of all the ships in commission for the last five years. Secondly, the Motion made last Session by the hon. and gallant admiral the Member for Southwark (Sir C. Napier) required a statement as to how much every sailor who deserted was indebted to Her Majesty at the time of his desertion. Now, those two facts complicated the inquiry very much. One good result from the Motion was, however, this, that any question hereafter arising upon the subject of deserters from the Navy would be more readily solved. Some time ago they had a Return upon this subject, containing plain statements in all those cases. They had since then monthly Returns of Her Majesty's ships, with the number of deserters. All matters of this nature might, therefore, in future be settled by reference to those Returns.