HL Deb 30 March 1836 vol 32 cc835-6

The Duke of Leinster moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the existing facilities for intercourse between the United Kingdom and our American colonies, and to consider what improvement can be made therein.

The Marquess of Lansdowne

did not rise to oppose the motion of his noble Friend, out he wished to observe, that he agreed in thinking it desirable that a Committee should be appointed in that House to inquire into this subject, which, indeed, was one of national importance. In giving his concurrence, however, to the motion, he did so in the full confidence that the meaning and object of the noble Duke was, to inquire into the means of facilitating the communication between the United Kingdom and the British colonies in North America, and not to direct attention to, or recommend one particular port through which the communication should be carried on. He thought that a great portion of this question was connected with a subject with which it was the duty of the Government intimately to inform themselves, and to gain that information from engineer officers who were not likely to be tainted or influenced by personal interests or considerations. He knew, that in consequence of the possibility of such an inquiry his noble Friend at the head of the Admiralty had taken steps to obtain the best information on the subject. He had directed inquiry to be made as to the best ports in Ireland for carrying on communication with America. There could be no doubt that this part of the subject had better be left in the hands of the Admiralty, by whom it would be adequately performed, than be assigned to persons who had private interests to consult. It was not only a fit subject in a commercial point of view for the serious attention of the House, but also in a military sense, and he had no doubt but that the inquiry of the Committee would lead to important and beneficial results. He would, however, suggest to his noble Friend to render the subject of his motion clear and explicit by making a slight alteration in the words of it, to the following effect:—"That a Committee be appointed to inquire into the means of facilitating the existing intercourse between the United Kingdom and our American colonies."

Motion as amended, agreed to.