§ MR. LUSK
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, If his attention has been directed to the reports in the public journals of the large quantities of Australian and other preserved meats that are offered for sale at about six pence per pound; if he has seen the favourable statement of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in regard to the Australian preserved meat published in "The Times" of 2nd November, 1868; and, whether, seeing that the preserved meats produced at the Deptford Dockyard (according to Parliamentary Return, No. 353, of last Session) cost eleven pence per pound, he intends to continue to supply the Navy with that manufactured by Government, or to buy in the open market?
§ MR. CHILDERS
I beg to inform the hon. Gentleman and the House that, so far back as 1865, the attention, of the Government was called to the possibility of obtaining meat for the use of the navy from the Australian colonies at a lower cost than that which was purchased in this country; and inquiries took place through the agency of one of the Australian Governments, which did not at that time end in any satisfactory arrangement being made. However, during the past year the question has been revived again, and before the present Board took Office a certain quantity of Australian preserved meat was purchased and issued to different ships, in order that the opinion of the officers and crews of those ships might be had as to the value of the meat. From many of those ships replies have been received, the greater part of which are of a satisfactory character; and, at the present time, the Admiralty are preparing a notice for tenders for the supply of a certain quantity of preserved Australian beef of the present year. I shall be able to state, on Vote 2 in the Navy Estimates, the probable financial result of such an arrangement if it is satisfactorily carried out.