HC Deb 05 April 1867 vol 186 cc1258-9

Order for Second Reading read.


moved the second reading of this Bill. He disclaimed all responsibility on the part of the Government in respect of the fortifications referred to by the Bill. They had been projected entirely by the late Government, and it now became the duty of Ministers to see that the works were not left in an unfinished state. The progress which bad been made in the science of defence had caused some additional and unforeseen expense to be incurred. No one, for instance, could have anticipated the necessity for plating the works at Portsmouth with iron, which was now considered advisable. £500,000 was required for this plating, and he was sorry to add that the Estimates had been exceeded by upwards of £100,000. Some purchases of land also were necessary. In order to cover this extra expenditure of nearly £700,000, it was proposed to abandon works at Chatham to the extent of £500,000, and at the central arsenal at Cannock Chase to the extent of £150,000. The Bill did not ask for any fresh money, but simply authorized the re-appropriation of this money, and he hoped there would be no unnecessary delay in passing it.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir John Pakington.)


said, he hoped the Motion would not be pressed. The right hon. Gentleman had very fairly described the Bill; but his description showed that it dealt with matters of great importance, which demanded more attention than could be devoted to them at five minutes to one o'clock.


said, the only principle involved in the Bill was as to whether the money which it had been already agreed to raise for certain fortifications should be distributed in a different manner from what was originally intended. The money had already been voted. It was only now proposed to re-distribute it. That question could be easily decided, and he hoped the House would understand how exceedingly inconvenient it would be if the Bill were not passed before Easter.


moved the adjournment of the debate.


said, that if any discussion were desired it might take place in Committee. It was impossible for the Government to proceed with the works if the Bill were not passed. The Government inherited this Bill from their predecessors.


said, that although the Government might have inherited the works from their predecessors, they had not inherited the changes, and it was the new proposals which the House wished to discuss. He did not see how the Bill could be passed before Easter.

Motion agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.