§ MR. FERRAND
said, he rose to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, If contracts, without competition, for two iron-plated gunboats have been given, or are intended to be given, to two shipbuilding firms.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
, in reply, said, it was true that the Admiralty had departed from their usual system of inviting tenders for the construction by competition of ships of war. The Messrs. Dudgeon had been very successful in building vessels on the twin-screw plan. They had lately built a small vessel for the Admiralty, and the Admiralty had invited them to tender for one of the gun-boats which 1367 were about to be built, supposing the House agreed to the Vote he should have to propose next week. With respect to the second gunboat, Mr. Langley had a patent for building ships with iron frames and wooden planking, and of all the plans of that nature that had been laid before the Admiralty they preferred his. They had, therefore, invited Mr. Langley to send in a tender for building a gunboat on his patent. If those two tenders were reasonable, they would be accepted by the Admiralty; but if not, they would be thrown open to competition by other parties.