§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, after the remarks of the Judge Advocate General, in his Report concerning the Ordnance Store Department at Woolwich, as regards the appointment of Messrs. Hunt and Engleston, over the heads of Messrs. Dunn, Chase, and Orr, steps will be taken to promote the latter, or give them some compensation for being passed over; whether, after the statement of the Judge Advocate General that Sergeant Hawkins' "evidence is a tissue of falsehoods," and the declaration of "his extraordinary inability to tell the truth," Sergeant Hawkins will be continued as a viewer on the establishment; whether, after the threatening letter sent by Messrs. Ross and Company to Mr. Moody and Mr. Dunn, the two complainants in the Department, and the statement of the Judge Advocate General "that the letter was a very improper 1840 one, and there is no foundation whatever for the charges therein made," the said firm of contractors will be further dealt with by the Government; whether, of the 11 specimens of hides selected for examination, eight of them contained, glucose of from 20 per cent to 25.20 per cent; whether, as a matter of fact, glucose is a well-known method of leather adulteration; and, whether Inspectors and Viewers, who are admittedly incapable of detecting this mode of leather adulteration, will any longer be employed by the Government in that capacity?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I have most carefully considered the responsibility attaching to all the individuals named in the inquiry before the Judge Advocate General, and I am quite prepared to state my decision. But I am sure that the House will see that a statement dealing with transactions extending over many years, and gravely affecting numerous individuals, cannot be made in answer to a Question. When I do so, I will deal with all the individuals mentioned by the hon. Member. The amount of glucose in hides is one upon which experts appear to differ very widely. The most recent Report puts the glucose at 10 or 12 per cent. It is a modern method of loading leather which seems to me to have been clever enough to deceive the Government Inspector. In the re-organization of the Inspection branch every effort shall be made to make it thoroughly efficient.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman had any information as to the adulteration by a material which added nearly double the weight to the goods?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I am afraid that is a new point, and if the hon. Member will give me particulars I will give him the information I have.