HC Deb 21 May 1874 vol 219 c617

asked the Surveyor General of the Ordnance, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of the Committee on Small Arms from which he read an extract on Thursday last the 14th May, as to their opinion of the Martini-Henry Rifle; whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of the Commanding Officers of the two Battalions of Infantry who have had the Martini-Henry rifle in use for the last year or more; and any other Reports of the Rifle from Commanding Officers of regiments; and, if the Return in the Library of the House is correct, that the 62,023 Martini-Henry Rifles delivered in 1873 cost £4 3s. 11d. without the bayonet, and without the intended alterations?


Sir, my hon. and gallant Friend is in error when he speaks of my having read an extract on Thursday last, the 14th May, from a Report of a Committee. What I read from was a private Report from the Director of Artillery upon his question, and it is not in accordance with the usual custom to produce it. I shall, however, be very happy to produce the Reports of the two battalions of Infantry, with the Minutes of the Conference relative to the minor alterations recommended, if moved for in the usual manner. The Return presented to Parliament of the cost of the Martini-Henry arms produced in 1872–3 at Enfield is correct, the difference—£1 3s. 6d.—between the original estimate of £3 0s. 5d. and £4 3s. 11d. being accounted for by the price of wages and materials having risen considerably meanwhile, and by the fact of the cost of plant being contained in the £4 3s. 11d. I may add that from savings in wages, materials, and machinery subsequently, the arm is now being produced at En-held at less than the original estimate of £30s. 5d.