HC Deb 26 February 1864 vol 173 cc1186-7

said, in the absence of his hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Talbot), he would beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, If he will lay upon the table of the House the Report of Admiral Sir Frederick Grey and Mr. Whitbread, upon which the Admiralty decided upon the proposed dock at Malta, as opposed to the views of Admiral Sir William Martin and Vice-Admiral Codrington, and all other official Papers and Correspondence that bear upon the subject, and which is not contained in the Papers now upon the table?


Sir, the hon. and gallant Member has put the question under an erroneous impression with respect to Sir Frederick Grey and Mr. Whitbread. They were at the time both members of the Board of Admiralty, and they were deputed by the Duke of Somerset to go out to Malta to inspect the plans and the site for themselves, and to hear all the arguments pro and con with regard to the proposed new dock. They made no written report, but the substance of their opinions is embodied in the decision of the Admiralty. With regard to the latter part of the question, I have to state that the Admiralty are willing to give all the correspondence as to the Malta docks, but if the Motion were agreed to as it stood, it would oblige us to produce a long previous correspondence and plans that would cost a great deal of money to prepare. But all those previous Reports are by Officers of the Admiralty, and in favour of the Admiralty scheme, and the hon. and gallant Member will not, therefore, get much advantage from them. If, however, after coming to the Admiralty, he still wishes for the production of the whole, I shall, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, have no objection to produce the whole of the papers.