HC Deb 17 June 1869 vol 197 cc141-2

rose to call attention to the armament of the Sea and Land Defences constructed and in pro- cess of construction at Portsmouth, Plymouth, &c. The noble Lord said, there had been no previous opportunity of discussing the subject, because the Report of the Committee appointed by the late Secretary of War in April last year had not been placed in the hands of Members until after the passing of the Votes. It was satisfactory to find that, in the opinion of the Committee, the works had been constructed with due regard to strength and security, and that the amount expended up to June 30 was £5,118,000, leaving only £2,832,000 to be expended. In general terms, two-thirds of the outlay on fortifications had been expended, and only one-third remained to be completed. The House ought now to be informed as to the provision to be made for the armament of those fortifications. On the introduction of the Army Estimates he expressed his belief that provision had only been made for the armament of one-sixth of the fortifications constructed, and no denial had been given to the statement, while large reductions, amounting altogether to £345,000, had been made in the department of Gun and Carriage Factories. He hoped that the Secretary of War would state the amount provided for in this year's Estimates for such armament, independent of any saving which may be effected by the probable adoption of the Moncrieff system.


said, that the whole question would come before the House at no distant period; but, with regard to the land defences, he might state that there were now in store more guns than were wanted to supply the whole of them. As to the sea defences, there were not guns enough yet made, but there were more than could, at the present moment, be mounted, and the supply was gradually and steadily increasing. In reference to the amount proposed in this year's Estimate for armaments, he would say that ninety-nine 12-ton guns were provided last year, and a similar number would be provided this year. This statement was not literally an answer to the noble Lord; but it really gave the information he required.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.