HC Deb 07 March 1887 vol 311 cc1408-9
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether Admiral Willes has recently issued to the officers commanding Her Majesty's ships on the Portsmouth station a "General Memorandum" requiring them to collect subscriptions from the men under their command for the Imperial Institute; whether the following passage occurs in such General Memorandum:— All persons who wish to subscribe to the funds required to establish this Institute should do so in the manner required by the Regulations contained in Article 1365, Addenda 1884. In addition to the lists required by that Article, another in the accompanying form, giving the names of all the subscribers, and the amount subscribed by each, is to be sent to my office by the 10th March for transmission to His Royal Highness; whether the said Article 1365 provides as follows:— When the sums subscribed (for charitable or other purposes) are partly in cash and partly charges against wages …the captain is to cause a list of subscribers to be made out, and signed by each individual against the sum he contributes.… but, when the subscriptions are wholly in cash, a detailed subscription list is not required in office; whether the said addenda can be superseded or altered by any persons other than the Lords of the Admiralty; whether they are to be obeyed by all officers of Her Majesty's Service; by whose authority, and for what reasons, is the latter provision of Article 1365 superseded in the above "General Memorandum"; and, whether, in view of the statements which have been made in the public Press, that the men fear the consequences of not subscribing, he will take any steps to reassure them on the subject?


The quotations from the General Order issued by Sir George Willes, and also from the Addenda to the Admiralty Instructions, are correct. The Addenda cannot be altered by any person other than Lords of the Admiralty, and the Regulations contained therein have not been in any way superseded at Portsmouth. Officers and men have been invited to subscribe. The usual and recognized mode of collecting the money has been followed; and the only pressure put upon them has been by a suggestion that subscriptions should be limited to the amount of half-a-day's pay. A special list of subscribers was called for solely to enable the promoters of the Institute to carry out their expressed wish to record each individual subscription. The men of Her Majesty's Navy are too independent and much too well informed to be misled by the statements referred to in the Question.


May I ask the noble Lord whether the money is to be obtained by stopping the pay of the men, or whether they are themselves to pay it?


I think the hon. Gentleman anticipates what my answer is. The men will bring the money themselves.