HC Deb 07 March 1859 vol 152 cc1407-8

(2.) £133,383 8s. 9d., Excess of Naval Expenditure.


said, that he had to move a supplemental Navy Estimate for the current financial year, which consisted of three items. The first item was one of £133,383 8s. 9d., arising from the excess of expenditure connected with the war in China. It was true, as had been mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Radnor (Sir George Lewis), that the Admiralty obtained the lion's share of the grant of £400,000 made last year on this account, that branch of the service having received £390,000, or something of that sort; and when he moved the Estimates last year he hoped that that would have covered all demands connected with the expenditure of the year 1857–8. In the course of the last autumn, however, he found that there would still be a deficiency of rather more than £133,000. The next item for which he should ask was a Vote of £12,000, which he brought forward in consequence of the strong recommendation from the Surveyor of the Navy that additional shipwrights and other labourers should be engaged in the dockyards during the present month, with a view to the increase of the navy. The remaining Vote for which he proposed to ask the Committee was one of £27,000 towards the purchase of some land in Malta. In preparing the Navy Estimates for last year the right hon. Baronet the Member for Halifax (Sir Charles Wood) inserted a sum of £23,000 for this purchase; but it turned out that that Estimate was greatly below the mark. He believed that no blame attached to the late Board of Admiralty for this misapprehension. On the contrary, valuation of the property made by a Government official was somewhere about £21,000, and it was to cover that sum that the right hon. Baronet inserted £23,000 in his Estimates. Subsequently a Government valuer was employed who gave in his Estimate at nearly £40,000. After that Dr. Cassolani came to him (Sir John Pakington) to carry on the negotiations about the property, and instead of selling it for £23,000 or £40,000, he had the modesty to ask £120,000 for it. At that time the Colonial Secretary in Malta himself valued the land at £60,000. Under these circumstances, after considerable negotiation, and finding that the property was very valuable, the Government offered £50,000, which, after some discussion, was accepted by Dr. Cassolani. He now asked the Committee to Vote £27,000, which, with the £23,000 granted last year, would make up that amount.

Vote agreed to, as were the two following Votes.

(3.) £12,000, Additional Shipwrights and Artificers in Dockyards at Home.

(4.) £27,000, to complete Purchase of Property in Great Harbour of Malta.