HC Deb 21 March 1874 vol 218 cc193-208

(In the Committee).

(1.) That a sum, not exceeding £260,336 18s. 8d., be granted to Her Majesty, to make good Excesses of Expenditure beyond the Grants for the following Revenue Departments, for the year ended on the 31st day of March 1873: viz.—

£ s. d.
Customs 10,383 11 6
Post Office 40,527 9 10
Post Office Packet Service 4,469 19 8
Post Office Telegraph Service 204,955 17 8
£260,336 18 8


said, that before the Vote was agreed to they ought to have some explanation as to the reason of these "excesses." Of the total amount, £204,000 was for the Telegraph service. Probably the House would remember the "Telegraph scandal" that occurred Last year, when a large sum was expended in excess of the Votes. What he should now like to know was, whether the present excess had any connection with the former excess, or whether it was an excess that had since arisen?


said, that, as he understood the Vote, this excess arose in the year 1872–3, and had, therefore, nothing to do with the "Telegraph scandal." At the same time he quite agreed that they ought to have an explanation. He did not want to cast any blame on a late Postmaster General who, for his public services he presumed, had been raised to a seat in the Upper House, still less upon the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh, who was so short a time in office; but it was evident that there had been great subserviency on the part of those responsible to Parliament to the views and wishes of their subordinates. In consequence of these inverted relations, an enormous sum of money had been spent upon the telegraphs without any authority last, year, and now it seemed that those who were really responsible to the House did not know for what they were responsible. He hoped the noble Lord who had succeeded to the office of Postmaster General (Lord John Manners) would initiate a thorough reform in the administration of the Post Office, and would take care that his subordinates were really his subordinates, and not his masters.


said, he was of opinion that as respected the Estimate to meet the excess on the expenditure for the year ending 31st March, 1873, the House ought to have been called upon to make good the deficiency by means of a Supplemental Estimate before the close of the year 1873, before which, date the excess of expenditure in every branch of the service could, by means of a well kept account of all liabilities, be closely ascertained. It was a matter of grave complaint against the officials that they did not call attention to those excesses at the proper time. As regarded the Estimates for the current year to supplement those presented and passed by the House a year since, he thought it was a most objectionable practice to bring forward even these Supplemental Estimates after such a long delay. He would also urge that they were so defectively drawn out as made it impossible for any hon. Member to arrive at a conclusion as to whether the expenditure was warranted or not, and especially looking to the abbreviated way in which the Papers were presented, it was utterly impossible for any one without great labour to ascertain the total charge for the several items in the year's Estimate. He hoped that in future the Treasury would not only state the amount of any Supplemental Estimates, but also lay Papers in detail upon the Table, framed in such a way that hon. Members might see at once for what they were called upon to vote the public money. The Supplemental Estimates ought to show the total of the original Estimate of the Department requiring extra aid, and then in detail, the several items of that Estimate on which the excess had occurred, and in a separate column the amount-required to supplement the original sum, and the total of the two for each item. It was only in this way that the check of the House and of the auditors could be effectually exercised. The late Government had omitted to discharge this duty. He hoped the present would not fall into the same error.


said, that if the House was sitting at the time any extra expenditure was incurred, no time should be lost in laying the Supplemental Estimates before it. To delay them until another Session, and then ask the House to vote such Estimates when it was difficult to examine them with any degree of accuracy, was like shutting the stable door after the steed was stolen. Under the circumstances, however, any discussion on the subject at present would be useless, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman under whom the extra expenditure had been incurred was no longer in office, and the present Government were not responsible for it.


said, he was of opinion that the House, as a rule, had been in the habit of voting too large sums on capital account for the Telegraph service. The House had already voted two large sums on that account—one of £7,000,000, and the other of £1,000,000, and as part of the sum now asked for was for buildings and furniture, he thought they ought to know whether it was voted on capital or on revenue account?


explained that the item had nothing to do with what was called the "Telegraph scandal," but arose from the fact that the original estimate of £500,000 in 1872–3 was submitted without any details, and upon very slight experience of the cost of the Telegraph service. "He had reason to believe, though he was not responsible for the excess, that with the utmost care a considerable expenditure could not have been foreseen. The suggestion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Kincardine (Sir George Balfour) would receive attention. There had been an understanding that the capital account should, as far as possible, be closed, for railway experience showed that whenever it was open there was a tendency to make use of it. It would be impolitic to charge wires, poles, apparatus, and furniture, which were subject to rapid wear and tear, to capital account.

Vote agreed to.


, who had given Notice of asking for a Vote of Credit of £900,000 for the expenses of the Expedition into Ashantee, said, he proposed to ask for only £800,000. It was customary when expeditions of this character were in question, and when it was difficult to estimate with precision the exact amount of the expenditure, to take a Vote of Credit for what was supposed to be the total cost of the expedition. In the present instance, the Vote of Credit included expenditure that would be incurred under the different heads of Army expenditure, Naval expenditure, and Colonial expenditure, because this expedition was of a peculiar character, embracing not only some of Her Majesty's Forces, the expense of which would be borne upon the Army and Navy Estimates respectively, but also a separate expedition which had been under the command of Captain Glover, and had been directed by the Colonial Office, and with regard to which it would be necessary the Colonial Office should furnish the necessary information. The Treasury had been furnished with accounts from all the three Departments of the probable cost of the expedition; and it had been their impression that the total cost over and above the regular Army and Navy Votes which had been taken for the current year would be £900,000, and it had been the intention of the Government to ask for a Vote of Credit for that amount; but it had been pointed out to them by the Gentlemen composing the Public Accounts Committee that that would not be in accordance with the course recommended by the Committee last year. It had not unfrequently happened that Votes of Credit taken in one year had been allowed to go on for several years as unexhausted credits, so that five or six years after the whole service had been completed, questions arose whether particular items should be charged to thorn. The Committee, therefore, recommended that Votes of Credit should be made to cover only the financial year in which they were granted, and that the unexhausted balance should be surrendered to the Exchequer at the close of that year. The Treasury would, at the outset, have acted on this view, but for the probability that the expedition would close so speedily that the whole expenditure could be ascertained and disposed of in the course of this and the ensuing year, the balance being surrendered at the close of 1874–5. The Committee, however, deemed it more regular to take the Vote strictly for the present financial year; and as according to the best information, £800,000 would in all probability cover the whole expenditure required this year, with a probability that in the coming year a further sum of about £76,000 would be required for Admiralty services, the most convenient course would accordingly be to take a Vote of £800,000, any portion of which not required for the present year would be returned to the Exchequer, while the remaining expenditure would be defrayed by a further Vote of Credit taken next year, any balance being surrendered in the course of next year. In that way, the House would have in a convenient form the whole cost of the expedition.

(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £800,000, be granted to Her Majesty, beyond the ordinary Grants, towards defraying the Expense which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871. of the Expedition into Ashantee.


, in moving the reduction of the Vote by £15,000, said, there was one item in the Vote of Credit to which he wished to draw attention—namely, £310,000 for the transport of troops. He would be the last person in the world to challenge the expenditure on this most glorious expedition, in which everything had been done in a manner which reflected the highest credit upon all concerned. Nov did he object to the cost of transport by the ships of Her Majesty's Navy, which he thought was extremely moderate; but there was included in this item a sum of £15,000 to which he did object, seeing that it was in reality the price paid for the purchase of the Dromedary, formerly the Briton. He objected to this item in the first place on the ground that the cost of a vessel purchased for the general use of the Navy ought to be included in the ordinary Admiralty Estimates, and not in a Vote for a special expedition like that to Ashantee. His more serious objection, however, was that the Dromedary was not a fit vessel to be in the Navy at all. That ship was never surveyed by the Controllers of the Navy before it was purchased. It was a slow ship, and altogether not of the character for the kind of service required of her. In fact, even her former owners had admitted that the ship was not fit for their general purposes. He need not, however, go into the particulars, which had boon referred to at a great many meetings during the autumn, and especially by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre), who told his constituents that he alone was responsible for the purchase of the ship, and that one of her recommendations was that she was slow, and would not carry the troops too rapidly to their destination; while an additional one was that all the vessels if they started from this country together would not arrive at the Gold Coast at the same time. These excuses did not bear examination. In fact, it was asserted by others that the ship was an old worn-out vessel, utterly unfit for such a purpose as the conveyance of troops, unless it was desired to have a repetition of the Megœra. If he was rightly informed, on the voyage home her engines had broken down more than once, her iron plates wore very thin and worn, her masts and rigging and general condition of the worst character. He hoped that under any circumstances the vessel would not be retained in the service of the Admiralty; but at the same time, while making the objections he had, and moving the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £15,000, he wished to give full credit to the officers and men employed in her.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £785,000, be granted to Her Majesty, beyond the ordinary Grants, towards defraying the Expense which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1874, of the Expedition into Ashantee."—(Sir John Hay.)


said, he was not sorry that the right hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth (Sir John Hay) had brought the subject of the Dromedary before the House, because, although it might be more convenient if it came on when the vessel had returned to this country, yet he was glad to have an opportunity of making some further explanation in regard to her than he had done in the course of the Recess. The charges directed against the Government in respect to the purchase of the Dromedary were that the transaction was somewhat connected with the Zanzibar contract; that she was bought by way of compensating the Union Steam Company for the loss of that contract, of which it was the sequel, and that it was, in fact, a compensation job. His object in addressing his constituents and the newspapers on the subject was to give an answer to those charges. He had stated that he alone of the Members of the Government was aware that any negotiations were pending with the Union Steam Company, and if anybody had been guilty of such a job it must have boon himself. He had repudiated the accusation in very strong language, which, perhaps, he ought not to use in that House; but if that accusation had been repeated in the House he certainly would have repelled it in language adequate for the purpose, but still, he hoped, consistent with the rules of Parliament. As, however, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had confined his criticisms to the expediency of the purchase only, he felt himself now relieved from the necessity of entering into that part of the question. The story of the purchase of the Dromedary was short and very simple. When they were hiring vessels for the Ashantee War, it occurred to him and his right hon. Friend the late First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Goschen) that it might be expedient, instead of hiring all the vessels required, to purchase one or two. In the case of the Abyssinian War, the Committee of that House thought it would have been advisable to adopt such a course. If he was correctly informed, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had himself in several instances sanctioned the hire of a vessel at a larger cost than her actual value. A good deal of evidence was given on that subject, and it therefore occurred to him and his right hon. Friend that it would be advisable to avoid any such mistake. They also thought, as they were in the market for the hire of vessels, that the Government ought not to be wholly at the mercy of the shipowners, and the fact of their being in a position to buy vessels in many cases enabled them to obtain contracts for hire on much more reasonable terms. The Admiralty had been in want of store vessels to carry stores to the different naval stations. At that time they had numerous vessels—he thought not fewer than 26—all of them offered for hire, and some of them for purchase; and the Director of Transports picked out the Dromedary as one of the most suitable for their purpose. She was recommended, also, by Admiral Seymour, then Superintendent of Naval Transport, and it was determined to purchase her. She was purchased. Two dockyard officers made a survey of her and reported that she was fit for the service for which they intended her. He did not wish to disclaim any responsibility, but his responsibility in the matter was small. All that he was anxious for was only that the Department should have a vessel that would be useful to them; and he would not himself say that the Briton, afterwards called the Dromedary, was a specially suitable vessel. That was a matter to be determined by the naval officers connected with the Department. When the vessel had been duly recommended to them, and the price asked for her was deemed to be reasonable, he and his right hon. Friend sanctioned the purchase of her. When they originally bought her, it was intended to use her only as a store vessel, and it was not contemplated to send her out with any troops at all. When, however, the Dromedary came into the market, it was suggested by the Director of Transports that she might be used for the conveyance of invalids from the Gold Coast to St. Vincent's, and she was bought with the intention of sending out stores in her for the Ashantee War, and then taking invalids from the Gold Coast to St. Vincent's. As an afterthought, however, it was felt that it might be expedient to send out in her 100 Marines, over and above the force sent to Sir Garnet Wolseley. It was never intended originally to send out those Marines; but, as it was found there would be room for them, it was thought it would be better to send out 100 of them as an addition to the force, and accordingly they were put on board the Dromedary. With regard to the change of the vessel's name from the Briton to the Dromedary, the sole reason for it was that they had already a vessel called the Briton in the service, and therefore they named their new purchase the Dromedary. When purchased she was never intended for the naval service. She was bought for the Ashantee War, and if on the termination of that war it was found that she had performed her work well, and she was still reported to be suitable for the service, then she could, if they pleased, be added permanently to the Navy. He would further say that when her name was changed he complained of it, thinking, as she was not permanently added to the service, it would be bettor to call her the Briton. He rather doubted the legality of changing the name of a merchant vessel, but as the alteration had already been made he left the name where it stood. The only additional question was whether she had been a suitable vessel for the purpose for which she was intended. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said it was stated in the papers that he defended the purchase on the ground that she was a slow vessel. That was an entire misstatement. What he said was that he knew she was not the fastest vessel, but as fast as any which they sent with stores for Ashantee. Where they required the services of a fast vessel they did not hesitate to obtain one; and, as the 42nd Regiment was wanted at the Gold Coast, when time was a great object, and they were advised by the War Office that it was very important that the regiment should be there on the earliest possible day, they gave £35,000 for the hire of a fast vessel for a few months, whereas, in the case of the Dromedary, they bought her out and out for £15,000. The Dromedary, in fact, was as fast as any of the other vessels which they hired for the same purpose, and the result had shown that she was so. She had gone out to the Gold Coast as quickly as any other store vessel except one—the Sarmatian—of extraordinary speed. She had conveyed 100 Marines there in admirable time to take part in any operations; she had performed the service to the full satisfaction of her officers and the Director of Transport, and had, in fact, generally given satisfaction. When she returned to this country it would be for his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Hunt) to determine whether, on the whole, it was expedient to retain her permanently for the Navy or to sell her again. The only remaining question which he had to deal with was as to the price they had paid for her. Well, they were advised by the Director of Transports that the sum asked—£15,000—was not an unreasonable amount. Her boilers were stated to be likely to last two years more. She was not a new vessel; but, on the other hand, her hull was very strong; she was otherwise in fair and good condition, and, on the whole, it was thought she was worth £15,000. In conclusion, the more that transaction was examined, the more satisfactory it would be found. Great credit was due to the Director of Transports for the mode in which he had conducted the whole of the operations. The work which had been done in the hiring of these steamers and the purchase of the Dromedary and another vessel would, he believed, bear favourable comparison with the experience of the Abyssinian campaign. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir John Hay) contemplated visiting a distant colony, he could not do better than take the Dromedary. As to the objection that the purchase of that vessel ought not to be charged on the Vote of Credit for the Ashantee War, it might have held good if she had been bought out-right for the permanent Naval Service; but, as he had explained, that was not the case. If, therefore, at the close of the war she was sold, of course the price would be brought to the credit of the Ashantee Vote. On the other hand, if she were still retained for the Navy, it might be a question whether a portion of the cost of purchasing her ought not to be charged generally to the Naval Service. But the proper course on the present occasion was to charge the cost of the vessel to the Ashantee War.


said, that when he was stationed, some 14 years ago, on the Coast of Africa, he constantly met that far-famed vessel the Briton, known as the Ancient Briton, now called the Dromedary, at Ascension, and then he certainly should not have said she was fit to carry Her Majesty's troops. If, however, the description given of her recent performances by the late Secretary of the Admiralty was correct, he was very glad of it, for the sake of the service.


said, the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre) rested his defence very much on the fact that the Dromedary was purchased as a store ship, while he admitted that by an after-thought she was used in a different capacity. Now, it was a proverb that second thoughts were best; and, unless his memory deceived him very much, that vessel conveyed troops towards the close of the year to the Coast of Africa. It was acknowledged that she took out Marines, a force which bore the brunt of a most important part of the war, and who. to all intents and purposes, were troops. The hon. Gentleman said they knew she was not the fastest vessel in the merchant service; but was he quite sure she was not one of the slowest? They might remember the account given of that ship on a public occcasion by the chairman of the company to which she had belonged, and that he congratulated his Board on the fact that they had heard of her for the last time. The Admiralty, with their eyes open, bought an exceedingly slow vessel, and sent her out for the first time with stores and Marines, whose speedy arrival was probably expected in great anxiety at a moment when time was everything. He hoped when the proper time came, that the services of that noble corps, who had so gallantly distinguished themselves throughout the war, bearing as they had the brunt of the campaign, would not be forgotten. He, therefore, did not think the case sought to be made out for the purchase of the Briton was entirely satisfactory, and his right hon. and gallant Friend had done his duty in calling attention to the matter, although, perhaps, he would not trouble the House to divide upon it. In his opinion, the name Dromedary was not well chosen in this case, as it properly belonged to a fast-travelling beast.


thought that question had been properly brought forward and answered most satisfactorily; and they ought now to keep to the business for which they had been called together, somewhat inconveniently, on a Saturday—namely, to consider the vote of £800,000 on account for the Ashantee War, the estimated cost of which was about £900,000. That was a very moderate demand. The expenses had been incurred; and if the Admiralty found that the Dromedary—which appeared to have been purchased for very little money—was not a desirable vessel to retain permanently, they could sell her again when she returned from the special service for which she had been bought.


said, he might then be expected to say a few words; but they must of necessity be very few, because he had been cognizant of that transaction officially a few hours only. He had little to add to what had fallen from his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre), who had given an account of that transaction, with which he had no reason to find fault. His right hon. and gallant Friend who proposed that Amendment, did so, no doubt, merely to elicit an explanation from his hon. Friend opposite; and he hoped that, after having done that, he would be satisfied without dividing the Committee. The statement of the hon. Member for Heading (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre) must have convinced his right hon. and gallant Friend that he was under a misapprehension in thinking that those officers who were his naval advisers in the present Board of Admiralty were responsible for the purchase of the Dromedary, because the hon. Gentleman had stated that he, Admiral Seymour, and the then First Lord of the Admiralty were the Gentlemen personally responsible. Therefore, those who now sat at the Board with him had nothing whatever to do with the transaction. By saying that he did not at all wish to be understood as if he were imputing blame to any one who had been connected with that transaction. He only said now that he accepted the explanation given by his hon. Friend opposite on the subject; but he would at the first opportunity call for a report of the speed the Dromedary made during her several runs for the Ashantee service, and also have her properly surveyed; and then they might consider whether she was a fit vessel to retain, or one they should dispose of. When the Papers were before him, he would not object to their production if his right hon. and gallant Friend moved for them, and then if he thought fit he could also call the further attention of the House to the subject.

In reply to Mr. ASSHETON,


said, that the time at which the Dromedary might be expected to arrive at the Gold Coast had been calculated before she started. It was known when the stores she carried would be required; and, in fact, she did arrive at the time she was expected. He thought it due to his hon. Friend near him (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre) to say that he endorsed everything he had stated, and he felt bound to express his high sense of the great ability displayed by Admiral Seymour, who had superintended the Transport, Admiral Mends, the Director of Transports, and his hon. Friend who was associated with them in the conduct of the whole transport service of the expedition. There had been no criticism whatever, so far as he had been able to see, with respect to any of the ships employed or chartered with the single exception of the Dromedary. He trusted that should it fall to the lot of his right hon. and gallant Friend opposite to have to provide means of transport for an expedition of this character, he would be fortunate enough to find only one ship or transport with regard to which public criticism would be excited, and would be able to give as good an account with respect to it as the late Administration could give of the £900,000 they had spent.


said, that after the pledge his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty had given that the Dromedary should he thoroughly surveyed, and the character of her hull and engines ascertained, and the further pledge that if found unfit for the service she would not be retained in the Navy, he would not press his Amendment.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

(3.) That a sum, not exceeding £47,433 15s. 10d., be granted to Her Majesty, to make good Excesses of Expenditure beyond the Grants for the following Civil Services for the year ended on the 31st day of March 1873: viz.—

Class I.
£ s. d.
Royal Palaces 8,337 5 2
Royal Parks 303 2 8
Surveys of United Kingdom 4,227 19 5
Rates on Government Property 500 5 1
Public Buildings, Ireland 2,435 16 0
Class II.
Treasury 33 2 2
Board of Trade 875 2 5
Civil Service Commission 1,539 16 3
Exchequer and Audit Departments 743 4 8
Patent Office 301 16 10
Registrars of Friendly Societies 209 17 1
Printing and Stationery 3,583 0 2
Works and Public Buildings, Office of 1,073 3 9
Lord Lieutenant's Household, Ireland 415 18 2
Chief Secretary's Office, Ireland 2,209 5 11
Class III.
Metropolitan Police 582 5 3
County and Borough Police, Great Britain 77 13 5
Miscellaneous Legal Charges, England 0 16 0
Courts of Law and Justice, Scotland 1,508 18 2
Register House Departments, Edinburgh 810 14 9
Prisons, Scotland 147 7 6
Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions, Ireland 11,912 12 7
Common Law Courts, Ireland 527 17 5
Registry of Judgments, Ireland 54 14 7
Dublin Metropolitan Police 1,943 2 10
Class IV.
National Gallery 106 9 11
Class V.
Diplomatic Services 885 7 10
Orange River Territory and St. Helena 62 7 0
Slave Trade, Commissions for Suppression of 67 14 3
Class VI.
Superannuations and Retired Allowances 1,954 17 5
Hospitals and Infirmaries, Ireland 0 17 7
Class VII.
Abyssinia, Presents to Prince Kassai 1 3 7
£47,133 15 10

(4.) £44,150, Law Charges (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(5.) £1,880, London Bankruptcy-Court (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(6.) £16,500, Police (Counties and Boroughs) (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(7.) £709, Miscellaneous Legal Charges, England (1873–4).

(8.) £22,000, Criminal Prosecutions, &c. Ireland (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(9.) £3,900, Maintenance of Prisoners, &c. Ireland (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(10.) £4,038, Endowed Schools Commission (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(11.) £4,000, in aid of Colonial Local Revenue, &c. (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(12.) £12,000, Superannuations (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(13.) £4,550, Temporary Commissions (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(14.) £1,812, Mediterranean Extension Telegraph (1873–4).

(15.) £15,038, Civil Contingencies Fund (1873–4).

(16.) £37,600, Customs Department (Supplementary, 1873–4).

(17.) £41,850, Post Office Pauket Service (Supplementary, 1873–4), no part of which sum is to be, applicable or applied in or towards making any payment in respect of any period subsequent to the 20th day of Juno 1863, to Mr. Joseph George Churchward, or to any person claiming through or under him by virtue of a. certain Contract, hearing date the 26th day of April 1869, made between the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Admiralty (for and on behalf of He* Majesty) of the first part, and the said Joseph George Churchward of the second part, or in or towards the satisfaction of any claim whatsoever of the said Joseph George Churchward, by virtue of that Contract, so far as relates to any period subsequent to the 20th day of June 1863.

(18.) £105,000, Navy (Supplementary, 1873–4) (Zanzibar Expedition).


, in moving a Supplementary Estimate of £105,000 to defray the charges incident to the Zanzibar Expedition from March 31, 1873, to March 31, 1874, said, the Vote had not been delivered to hon. Members, and had indeed, been only laid upon the Table of the House within the last few minutes. The Vote was rendered necessary in consequence of the building and fitting out of Her Majesty's ships London, Flying Fish, and Ægeria, and consisted of three items—Wages, £37,000; Naval Stores, coals, &c, £48,000; and Steam Machinery, £20,000. He had no doubt the money had been properly expended.


inquired whether the expedition referred to was that which had been conducted by Sir Bartle Frere?


said, the expenditure was incurred in connection with Sir Bartle Frere's Expedition. The Admiral at Zanzibar and other naval authorities had recommended that a block ship should be placed at Zanzibar with a small factory upon it to make the necessary repairs in ships engaged in the suppression of the slave trade. The London was selected, and a sum of about £30,000 was expended on her for that purpose. The Flying Fish and the Ægeria were also intended for the service, although they were not to be completed until next year. It was thought better, however, to get them finished and fitted out at once by means of a Supplemental Estimate, so that no delay should occur.


inquired whether the vessels had arrived at the station.


said, that when he left the Admiralty the London was just completed, and the First Naval Lord informed him that it was proposed she should be commissioned. She had not, however, been commissioned when he left office.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday; Committee to sit again upon Monday.