HL Deb 18 June 1874 vol 220 cc66-8

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that as their Lordships were aware the mail steamers for India, China, and Australia, all touched at Ceylon. The harbour they had hitherto made use of there was that of Point de Galle, and arrangements had been made by his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) for the spending of a sum of money in the improvement of that harbour. Since then there had been an inquiry, the result of which was to show that the extent of the harbour of Galle was inadequate, that the currents were shifting and dangerous, that there were considerable swells there, and that it was studded and indented with rocks. One of these rocks was only discovered last year. Many wrecks had occurred there—indeed, there was scarcely a year in which there was not at least one. A very experienced captain said that he had never gone into the harbour of Galle without a sense of apprehension, and had never got out of it without a sense of relief. On the other hand, the harbour of Colombo was free from those drawbacks. There were no currents or dangerous swells there, and, moreover, Colombo was the terminus of aline of railway by which the produce of the island was brought down to the coast; and it was in other respects convenient for trade. "Under these circumstances, it had been thought advisable to make Colombo the harbour of call in lieu of Galle, and the object of this Bill was to transfer to the former the loan made in favour of the latter. The Colony was prepared to spend £600,000 on the harbours, and the Treasury undertook to advance by way of loan a sum of £250,000 at 5 per cent. 3½ of which was to be for interest and the remaining 1½ to form a sinking fund for the repayment of the principal. The security of the Colony was quite a safe one. The revenues of the Island had rapidly advanced during the last three or four years, and there was a considerable balance of receipts over expenditure.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Earl of Carnarvon.)


entirely concurred with his noble Friend in approving the object of the Bill; but his noble Friend had made a slight mis- take in saying that the arrangements for the loan to Galle were made when he (the Earl of Kimberley) was at the Colonial Office. These arrangements had been made before his accession to office. He had however found that the expenditure would be so large and that the improvement of that harbour was beset with such difficulties, further inquiry was desirable. That inquiry had been made by competent engineers and the result was a report in favour of the harbour of Colombo. He agreed with his noble Friend that the security for the loan was sufficient. The Colony was acting with spirit in the matter and the advance by way of loan from this country was no more than ought to have been expected.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.