§ LORD CHARLES BERESFORD (York)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can inform the House of the reason for issuing Admiralty tender forms for hides, leather, and leather goods in such a form as to exclude Colonial goat skins; whether there is any particular reason for excluding from Admiralty contracts morocco made from goat skins from the Cape of Good Hope and other South African Colonies, India, Australia, and New Zealand; whether he is aware that the supply of Colonial skins is larger than the European supply, and that any boycotting of Colonial trade in Government Departments is likely to injure the Colonial trade and cause the supply to fall off; whether he is responsible for the memorandum issued from the Contract Department of the Admiralty on 12th April last, complaining of the fact that some of the morocco skins used for chairs shed colours on being rubbed, and requesting samples in future; and whether he is aware that the skins complained of were of European origin, and, in view of that fact, whether he will at least give an equally fair market to Colonial skins as to European skins in all cases of Admiralty contracts?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. W. G. E. MACARTNEY,) Antrim, S.
The present specification was settled in 1885, and the Admiralty was then advised that the skins of European goats were the best for upholstery work. The memorandum referred to was issued in consequence of a complaint recently 1219 made of the colour of some skins covering seats of chairs shedding when in use. I am advised that the fault was in the dye, and not in the quality of the skins. Orders have been given for the purchase of samples of Colonial skins for the purpose of trial and comparison.