HC Deb 20 March 1863 vol 169 cc1701-3

said, that he had given notice of a Motion, stating it to be the opinion of the House that Yarmouth Roadstead should be fully protected from the attack of gunboats at sea, but ho found that he could not move it now. He should therefore confine himself to calling attention to the subject. In consequence of representations made by the town in 1859 as to the defenceless state of the roadstead, the Secretary for War, the late Lord Herbert, had an inspection made by engineers and others competent to investigate the matter. They reported that there never was a port which required more defence. It was determined to erect three batteries, but only two had been constructed. In reply to an application made to the War Office in 1860, Lord de Grey and Ripon said the Government required a site for the remaining battery. A site was procured and paid for. There was then a delay, which was explained by the omission from the Estimates of any Vote for the works. On the 12th of December, 1862, the mayor of the town wrote to the War Office on the subject, and, in reply, was informed that his letter should be considered, but that Sir George Lewis did not propose to erect any works in Yarmouth "at present." The right hon. Gentleman, in a conversation, had stated that ho was not so great a man for fortifications as his predecessor; but he might observe, that the opinion of Lord Herbert on fortifications was as good as that of most Secretaries of State, and perhaps as that of the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary for War. His predecessor, the late Lord Herbert, had pledged himself that the work should be carried out; and, under all the circumstances, he hoped the Government would not commit a breach of faith in the matter.


rose to reply, but was called to order, having once spoken.


begged to ask whether the Galway Contract would be laid on the table for a month before it was ratified, in accordance with the Resolution of the Select Committee, or whether the Government intended to treat it as an old contract which had not expired? The hon. Baronet begged to complain of the practice which had grown up lately of going into Committee on Friday nights. He did did not know whether the right hon. Baronet, Sir George Lewis, meant to go into Committee to-night, seeing that it was past ten o'clock, and there was barely a House; but it certainly was an abuse of the change made for the convenience of the Government when Thursday was made a Supply night. Formerly Friday night was, to a considerable extent, occupied by questions on the adjournment; and when the Thursday was made a Supply night, the Order of Supply was retained on the Papers on Friday, in order to give an opportunity for the usual miscellaneous discussion. To-night there were thirteen different topics on the paper for discussion, and no one could tell whether they would not consume the entire night. The consequence was, that hon. Gentlemen who took an interest in financial matters were perplexed what to do, find the House ran the risk of passing a number of important Votes without discussion, and of gaining a reputation of being neglectful of the public money. Last year 103 items, involving £5,000,000 of public money, had been passed through Committee after ten o'clock, and hon. Gentlemen who took an interest in financial matters did not know that Supply was coming on.

Main Question put, and agreed to.