HC Deb 13 June 1879 vol 246 cc1872-3

, in rising to call attention to the claims of Mr. John Clare said, these claims were for various improvements alleged to have been introduced into iron ship-building, and adopted in the construction of Her Majesty's ships without due acknowledgment. As he could not move for a Committee on the present occasion, he should bring the case forward again and again until he succeeded in getting an independent inquiry into the justice of Mr. John Clare's claims.


said, that, some years ago, when Mr. Clare sent in a statement of his claims to the Admiralty, the latter considered them on their merits and decided against them. Mr. Clare then brought an action before the Lord Chief Justice and a special jury, and claimed a large sum as compensation for inventions. His claims were disallowed, and he then made application for a new trial, which was unanimously refused. He afterwards petitioned the Queen, and that Petition was referred to the Admiralty, who subsequently referred it. to the Home Office, stating that the matter had been already tried before the Lord Chief Justice, and that if Mr. Clare had claims which had not been decided upon, the Courts were open to him. A Motion for an inquiry into his grievance had been made in the House, and negatived. In 1874 he sent in a Memorial, which was referred to the Law Officers of the Crown, who reported that he had no claim whatever. He (Mr. A. F. Egerton) believed Mr. Clare to be a very clever man; but, in the face of all these adverse decisions, he would be pardoned from entering into the do-tails. He had great sympathy with Mr. Clare as a public inventor; but he had no case, and he was afraid the Admiralty could do nothing for him.


said, there was a good deal more in the case of Mr. Clara than the majority of the House supposed. Mr. Clare's invention was the first thing that rendered possible the building of our enormous ironclads, and he (Mr. Parnell) regretted the position taken up by the Admiralty on the question. It would have been much more satisfactory if the merits of the case had been gone into by the Secretary to the Admiralty, for it would then have appeared how untenable was the position which the Admiralty had taken.