HC Deb 15 March 1875 vol 222 c1805

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is a fact that besides the "Active," built upon the same plan as the "Volage," there are about thirty armoured and about the same number of unarmoured ships of war built according to the design furnished by the late Chief Constructor of the Navy; whether the sea-going qualities of the greater number, if not of all these sixty ships, have formed a serious ground of complaint by many of the most distinguished officers in Her Majesty's Service, besides that of Captain Fairfax, commanding Her Majesty's ship "Volage," just published; and, whether he will consent to the appointment of a Committee to inquire and report whether the ships designed by the late Chief Constructor of the Navy can be considered as safe and efficient sea-going men of war, worthy a place on the Navy List of Great Britain?


Sir, the subject of the hon. and gallant Member's Question, cannot, in my opinion, be properly dealt with by a simple categorical answer. It involves much controversial matter, and is in effect an attack upon the professional ability of an hon. Gentleman who for some years held a responsible post at the Admiralty, and now occupies a seat in this House. I would suggest to my hon. Friend, if he thinks that the matter requires the attention of the House, that he should bring it forward in a way that would allow of his giving the grounds for the opinions he appears to entertain, and that would afford the hon. Member for Pembroke an opportunity for taking part in the discussion.


said, he would, in that case, give Notice that he should to-morrow move for a Committee to inquire into the sea-going and other qualities of the vessels designed by the late Chief Constructor of the Navy, Mr. E. J. Reed, C.B.