HC Deb 23 April 1863 vol 170 cc612-4

(2.) £85,925, Expedition to Kertch and Yenikale.


I now rise. Sir, to make the other Motion of which I have given notice. The House will recollect that there was considerable discussion last year upon the subject of the Kertch and Yenikale prize money, and that great complaints were made of the long delay which had taken place in deciding whether this prize money should be granted, upon what principles, and in what proportion. The question arose out of the transactions of 1855. A joint expedition of French and English troops and ships took possession of Kertch, and opened the passage to the Sea of Azoff; and this led to the operations which were afterwards so successfully carried on in the interior of that sea. A great deal of valuable property was taken, consisting of about £70,000 worth of coals, machinery of great value, guns, and stores of other descriptions. The coals were used by the British and French ships of war nearly in equal proportions. The machinery was applied to the service of the British navy, and was of the greatest use in the course of the operations which followed, up to the termination of the war; and a very large sum was saved to the public by the means which that machinery gave of keeping in repair, upon the spot, the fleet employed in the Black Sea. Part of that machinery is now at Gibraltar, and is used and available for the public service. The value of stores which were captured was estimated at about £119,000, includ- ing in that the £60,000 or £70,000 which was the estimated value of the coals. But one-half of these coals was consumed by the French navy, and their value must be deducted in calculating the sum which was taken possession of, and liable to be distributed to the seamen and soldiers of the two services. That reduced the amount to about £85,000. Now, there was a considerable discussion between the Treasury and the Admiralty with regard to the claims which the two services had for a Vote of this House, in compensation for the stores which were thus taken from them and applied to the public service. It was thought at one time, that the question being rather an intricate one, it ought to be referred to a court of law; but, upon further communication with the Law Officers of the Crown, and upon further consideration, Her Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that the claim was irresistible, that it would be confirmed by a court of law, and that there was no reason why the delay and expenses incident to an appeal to a court of law should be thrown upon the parties. It was determined therefore to propose, in the course of this Session, a Vote of this House; and the Vote which I am now proposing is calculated according to the value of the stores which wore seized by our sailors and troops at Kertch and Yenikale, and applied to the public service, and in respect of which the seamen and troops engaged had a claim to compensation. The proportion in which the two services were engaged was about two to one — that is to say the navy represented two-thirds of the expedition, and the military one-third; and therefore what we propose is, that the £85,000, which I am now asking the House to vote, shall be divided in that proportion between the two services.


said, he was happy to find that the grant would at last be made to the troops and seamen engaged in the Kertch and Yenikale expedition. It was seven years since the capture took place, and it was lamentable that in all cases of prize money such delays should occur, so that the persons entitled often died in want and misery before the money was distributed. In the present instance he hoped that the ordinary rules which guided the distribution of prize money would not be departed from.

Vote agreed to.

(3.) £1,000,000, to pay off and discharge Exchequer Bonds.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.