HC Deb 18 March 1870 vol 200 cc210-2

said, he wished to be allowed to correct a misapprehension as to an expression which he was reported to have used, and no doubt had used, on the previous evening, and which, if unconnected was calculated, to give pain to a very distinguished officer and friend of his, Sir Spencer Robinson, the Controller of the Navy. He had stated, in reply to a question which had been put to him from the other side of the House, that he had consulted his gallant colleague (Sir Sydney Dacres) as well as other officers, representing every branch of the profession, on drawing up the scheme of retirement which was at the time under discussion. It was thought that the expressions which he had used upon the point were calculated to convey the impression that his gallant friend Sir Spencer Robinson had concurred with him in the proposal as to the retirement of flag officers after a certain period of service, which formed the subject of debate. Now, he did not wish to convey to the House any such meaning; but as some misapprehension had arisen on the point, he wished without any qualification to say that his gallant friend and colleague, whose opinion he had asked as to the scheme itself generally, and who concurred in the greater part of it, did not concur in the particular part of it to which he referred, and he regretted that any misapprehension should have arisen on the subject.


hoped his right hon. Friend would be good enough to inform the House whether the scheme of retirement had been submitted to the Beard of Admiralty; and whether a Minute approving it had been passed by the Board?


said, he was sorry his right hon. Friend had not given him notice that he was about to ask the question. He could, however, answer it at once, without the slightest hesitation. He had stated on former occasions both this Session and last that the Board of Admiralty, as a consultative Board, was very much in the same position as the Board of Treasury. The different persons who in the Warrant were constituted the Board of Admiralty were responsible to him for the administration of naval affairs, and he was responsible to Her Majesty and to Parliament. All those questions which used formerly to be submitted to the general consultation of the Board were now dealt with departmentally, as was the case in other Government Departments. In accordance, therefore, with the existing practice the draft Orders in Council had not been discussed by the Board as a Board. The proposals relating to the personnel of the Navy were considered by him with those responsible to him in such matters, as were the proposals relating to the finance of the Navy with those who were responsible for the financial arrangements.

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