§ MR. LAIRD
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, Why the alterations of Her Majesty's ship Scorpion (referred to in the Report of Admiral Seymour on Her Majesty's ships Scorpion and Wyvern, dated 8th November, 1865, as judicious and likely to improve the efficiency of the ships as cruisers) have been suspended, after having been commenced at Her Majesty's Dockyard, Portsmouth; and whether it is intended to proceed with such alterations; and, if so, how soon it is expected they will be completed, and the Scorpion ready for sea; also, whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that there are several ironclads belonging to foreign Governments on the Pacific and North American Stations, carrying guns of the heaviest weight and calibre yet used on board ship; and whether Her Majesty's Government have sent, or are about to send, any ironclads to those stations; and, if so, whether any of them are armed with 12-ton guns?
Sir, with respect to the alterations in the Scorpion, I have only to say that they are been carried on precisely in the same manner as all other dockyard 1941 work is carried on when not urgently required, only being interrupted in consequence of the pressing demand for ships for foreign service. I am afraid they are not likely to be completed for some considerable time. In answer to the other question of the hon. Gentleman, I may say that the Government are aware that there are several ironclads belonging to other Governments on the North American Station, and some of them carrying cast-iron guns which will throw very heavy shot. With respect to the future movements of Her Majesty's armour-plated ships, I hope the hon. Gentleman will permit me to say, without any discourtesy to him, that it is a matter that must be left to the discretion of the Government from time to time. The Favorite has been sent on an experimental cruise on the North American station, The 12-ton gun has not yet been supplied to any armour-plated ships. That gun has been found to be a good broad-side gun. It has been adopted in the service, and will be applied to some of the armour-plated ships as soon as the carriages are ready.