HC Deb 11 February 1870 vol 199 cc165-6

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, To state to the House the object of his recent cruise with the Channel and Mediterranean Squadrons; and, if he will have any objection to furnish a Return of the vessels engaged in the said cruise; such Return to include their names, tonnage, number of officers and men, cost of wages, stores, and provisions per month, consumption and cost of fuel per diem, average speed attained per hour under steam or canvas, separately and together; together with the number of days' fuel each vessel is capable of carrying?


Sir, in reply to my hon. Friend, I may refer him to the answer I gave on the 27th July last to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Derbyshire (Captain Egerton), when I stated that it had been for some time the wish of the Admiralty to bring together the Channel and Mediterranean Fleets, and that we proposed, in order to obviate objections which might possibly be made in consequence of the Vice Admirals commanding the two fleets being nearly of the same rank, to join the Mediterranean Fleet at Gibraltar, and that the two fleets should cruise under the Admiralty flag. I may add, as a further reason, that both my gallant colleague Sir Sydney Dacres and myself were anxious to see much that we could not know except by personal observation, especially as to the performances of the ships of more recent construction—the Hercules, the most formidable iron-clad broadside ship in the navy; the Monarch, our most formidable turret-ship; and the Inconstant, the most powerful and swiftest unarmoured frigate. Perhaps I may say that the result has been, in our opinion, very satisfactory; and that, with reference to the second part of my hon. Friend's Question, I shall lay on the table the Report of the Captain of the Fleet, special Reports as to the ships of new type, a Memorandum by the Controller of the Navy, and a Minute of the Board of Admiralty. These Reports will have tables attached, which, if they do not give the full details asked by my hon. Friend, will give sufficient, I believe, for his purpose.