HC Deb 01 August 1879 vol 248 cc1894-7

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

  1. (1.) £1,030,000, Naval Stores for Building and Repairing the Fleet, &c, agreed to.
  2. (2.) £842,000, Machinery and Ships built by Contract, &c, agreed to.
  3. (3.) £566,749, New Works, Buildings, Yard Machinery, and Repairs, agreed to.
  4. (4.) £75,710, Medicines and Medical Stores, &c, agreed to.
  5. (5.) £7,985, Martial Law, &c, agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £140,530, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of various Miscellaneous Services, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880.


said, he had on a previous Vote drawn the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty to the necessity of making provision for the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplains in connection with the Naval Service. He had been informed that the question would be more properly raised on the present Vote, and, therefore, he took that opportunity of asking the right hon. Gentleman what course he intended to take with regard to the subject? He did not ask for the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplains to each of the large iron-clads, but that Roman Catholic seamen might be supplied with chaplains at the chief naval centres at home and abroad, and at those parts which were not exactly naval centres, but at which, from time to time, a large number of ships called having on board Roman Catholics. As an instance of these, he would mention Lisbon as having, for many months standing off the port, a large squadron of ships. He would also draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the sick on board the invalid vessels, as he felt very strongly that something might be done to meet the grievance of those persons, who might never see their native land again, and who were anxious that they might have the ministrations of religion on their way home. He believed that chaplains were appointed at Portsmouth, Sheerness, and Plymouth; but, even in those cases, they were without the proper facilities for the discharge of their office. He believed that the commanding officers of ships liked to see the chaplain come on board, using his influence upon the men, simply because it reduced punishment, and tended to good order. But the chaplains in those cases had no locus standi; and, consequently, not so much real influence over the men as they would otherwise have. The Coastguards on the West Coast of Ireland, in cases where sometimes there was only one man with his wife and children, had the ministrations of the local Protestant clergyman, who received a certain sum per annum. Ample provision was made for them, and he thought that the Catholics had a right to the same advantages in respect to their religion. Again, it was only fair to appoint one Catholic teacher in training ships where there were a number of Catholic boys. The chaplains ought, in his opinion, to be commissioned officers. He had, he thought, placed these claims on a moderate and friendly footing, in the belief that the time had come for remedying the grievances which he had indicated. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,000.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £139,530, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of various Miscellaneous Services, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880."—(Mr. Arthur Moore.)


said, it was the wish of the Admiralty that every facility should be given to clergymen of all denominations in the discharge of their duties. There were Roman Catholic chaplains receiving salaries at Sheer-ness, Devonport, Haslar, Plymouth Hospital, and Portsmouth. There were also chaplains at nine other places abroad to whom capitation allowances were paid, and at every place where a Fleet might happen to be Roman Catholic sailors and Marines had the services of ministers of their religion, to whom allowances were paid. He assured the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. A. Moore) that the most anxious care was taken to see that the seamen and Marines had the ministrations of clergymen of the religion to which they belonged. It would not be possible to place Roman Catholic chaplains on board the troopships returning from India.


rose, not to express any opinion upon the subject under notice, but to suggest that it was of far too great importance to be taken up at that period of the Session. Toss the matter about how you would, it came to this—It was a proposal for a new religious endowment; for chaplains to be established at a number of ports on the Continent visited by the ships of the Navy. He objected to any extended application of the principle of endowment, and thought that all sects of Christians might well spend their benevolence to provide for such casual visitors. If such a thing were to be seriously proposed, it ought to be done by a Vote subsequently brought forward, at a time when everyone had an opportunity of fully considering the principle which it involved.


was sorry to interrupt the Vote, in order, on a Motion to report Progress, to refer to a matter of importance. He did so, not with any intention of impeding the Vote, but because it was important to have an understanding with the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty as to whether he was going to introduce the same modifications in the naval law as had been made in the military law?


said, the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Parnell) would not be justified in entering into the question of martial law. The proper time for that would be on the Report of the Vote.


proposed to refer to the administration of the Navy as regarded punishment and discipline, and wished to secure that the discipline in the Navy should be the same as in the Army, and that those modifications introduced into the Army Discipline and Regulation Bill for the alleviation of punishment should also be introduced into the discipline of the Navy. He did not know whether this could be done by Parliament or by directions or orders issued by the First Lord of the Admiralty.

It being now ten minutes to Seven of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till the Evening Sitting.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee also report Progress; to sit again this day.

The House suspended its Sitting at Seven of the clock.

The House resumed its Sitting at Nine of the clock.