HC Deb 26 May 1903 vol 122 cc1807-8

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been directed to representations from the Royal Geographical Society to the effect that in order to ensure the safety of the officers and men of the Antarctic ship "Discovery" it will be necessary to send the relief ship "Morning" to the Antarctic regions next December; and whether, seeing that thirty out of the thirty-seven officers and men of the "Discovery" are on the active list of the Royal Navy, he will state whether a grant from the Exchequer has been asked for; and, if so, what is the amount and what are the intentions of the Government.

The following Question also appeared on the Paper on the same subject:

SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the fact that until last year the British Government had contributed to every Polar relief expedition, he will state what steps he proposes to take to secure the safety of the officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and others, now on board the "Discovery."


The Government are prepared to contribute to the relief of the officers and men on board the "Discovery," which is now ice-bound; in the Antarctic Seas. The course taken by the two learned societies responsible for the expedition in respect to the contribution of money and men made by the Government is greatly to be regretted. I have always leaned towards the principle of extending the very limited aid which the British Government have been accustomed to give towards the furtherance of purely scientific research. But such action can only be justified so long as the Government are able to feel absolute confidence that the scientific bodies approaching them have placed before them all the information in their possession as to the estimated cost of their proposed action and the limits within which they intend to confine it. That confidence has been rudely shaken by the present case.