§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
moved—That towards providing a further sum for defraying the Expenses of the construction of Works for the Defence of the Royal Dockyards and Arsenals, and of the Ports of Mover and Portland, a sum not exceeding £800,000 be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, and that the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorized and empowered to raise the said sum by Annuities, for a term not exceeding thirty years, and that such Annuities shall be charged upon and be payable out of the said Consolidated Fund; that the said Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorized to direct the payment to the Governor and Company of the bank of England, out of the said Consolidated Fund, of the sum of £800, for the Management of the Contributions to be received by the said Governor and Company in respect of the said Annuities.He said, that £150,000 of the £800,000 would be devoted to the placing of iron shields on fortifications, a work which would be completed by the expenditure from time to time of £450,000. The balance of £650,000 to be devoted to general works, was similar to the amount which had been devoted annually for some time past.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he entirely approved of the object for which this Vote was asked. He did not know whether it was the intention of the late Government to have proposed this increase for the iron shields, but both himself and his predecessor at the War Office had been of opinion that this expenditure should be incurred.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he had heard that the iron shields or sheathing proposed to be used at Portsmouth were to be applied on a worse principle than the iron which was used for the same purpose at Cronstadt.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that the schields in this country would be applied in a different way, but it did not follow that they would prove inferior.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, he thought that £450,000 was a large sum to expend for such a purpose, more espe- 141 cially as they were not likely to prove stable, it being well known that salt water would corrode and cat away iron. He had some doubt as to whether the proper course to pursue was to pay for these fortifications by means of a loan, which involved the necessity of borrowing for works of a temporary character, while at the same time we were paying off a loan. He thought it would be better to pay the cost if possible, out of the revenue of the country. They might just as well pay for the sheathing of the ironclads by means of a loan.
§ MR. O'BEIRNE
said, that he had placed on the Paper a Motion for next Tuesday which would open up the whole question of our fortifications. He attached no blame with respect to the plans of fortification — which seemed to him to be altogether faulty in principle and utterly useless—to the Government, because they were the plans of the late Government. He had had great experience in the matter of fortification plates. Many good judges considered the plates used as quite inferior and erroneous in principle. He thought the best principle had not been adopted with regard to the subject of fortifications It was his intention next Tuesday to move a Resolution to suspend the further proceeding with the fortifications until some competent authority had fully considered the whole subject.
said, that though it was too late to discuss the general question of fortifications he believed that the greater part of them would turn out useless. Round forts with lines had been constructed which it was impossible for the defensive force of this country to man. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he had any information of the sinking of the foundations of two forts, one at Spithead and the other in the Medway?
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
had no reason to doubt the efficiency of our system of fortifications, on which the best talent in the country had been engaged. He had received no information as to the sinking of the foundations of a fort in the Medway, but one of the five forts which it had been intended to erect at Spithead had been abandoned owing to that cause. A second fort had been commenced on Ryde Sand; and he was informed a few days ago that the foundation was defective and that it would be wise to abandon it. Three other forts were being erected on the White Horse Sand, No Man's Land, and the Spit, 142 and there was no reason to doubt their stability. The iron shield was likely to be permanent.
- 1. Resolved, That, towards providing a further sum for defraying the Expenses of the construction of Works for the Defence of the Royal Dockyards and Arsenals, and of the Ports of Dover and Portland, a sum not exceeding £800,000, be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom; and that the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorised and empowered to raise the said sum by Annuities, for a term not exceeding thirty years, and that such Annuities shall be charged upon and be payable out of the said Consolidated Fund.
- 2. Resolved, That the said Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorised to direct the payment to the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, out of the said Consolidated Fund, of the sum of £800, for the Management of the Contributions to be received by the said Governor and Company in respect of the said Annuities.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.