HC Deb 09 July 1868 vol 193 c910

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, If his attention has been called to the following paragraph in the "Hants Telegraph:"— The steamer Princess of Wales, belonging to the Port of Portsmouth and Ryde Steampacket Company, left Southsea Pier on Thursday morning at half-past nine o'clock, on her passage to Ryde. When opposite Fort Monckton a shot passed between the foremast and jib stay, causing considerable consternation among the passengers, many of whom were so frightened that they laid down upon the deck. This occurrence will serve to show the immense amount of danger resulting from the shot practice at this fort, for if the shots had struck the vessel beneath the water-line, the probability is that she would have sunk, and that many lives would have been sacrificed. Similar incautious proceedings had occurred at Dover. He wished to know, whether measures have been taken to prevent the recurrence of a practice so dangerous to the lives of Her Majesty's subjects?


said, he had received several letters relating to this matter. He was afraid there could be no doubt that both at Dover and at Portsmouth there had been considerable want of proper and due care in the practice of the artillery; but as the conduct of Officers was involved the House would sec it would be right he should be in possession of the fullest information before he was called upon to say more on the subject. He must decline to give any final answer to the Question till he was in possession of the whole facts of the case. He had not yet received any information from Dover.