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BETTER MANAGEMENT OF THE CIVIL CONCERNS
TAKEN FROM THE PAPERS OF THE LATE
BRIGADIER-GENERAL SIR SAMUEL BENTHAM, K.S.G.
INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF NAVAL WORKS,
AND AFTERWARDS A COMMISSIONER OF THE NAVY.
M. S. B.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE REPORT OF
THE SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
ON NAVY ESTIMATES, 1848.
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS,
A VERY general belief appears to be entertained that the effective naval force of the country might be upheld at a cost far below that which the nation. is now subjected to; a persuasion which the Report of the Select Committee on Navy Estimates, 1848, appears fully to confirm. An attentive perusal of that Report, together with an examination of its voluminous Appendices, brought back to recollection that half a century ago successive First Lords of the Admiralty, the Earls Spencer and St. Vincent, were both of them convinced that no partial regulations could prevent waste and abuse in the civil branch of the Naval Department, since the system of management was in itself fundamentally at fault. Lord Spencer first embraced this opinion in consequence of proofs, exhibited to him by the Inspector-General of Naval Works, of such maladministration in the Royal Dockyards as would
be inevitably ruinous in any private concern; and by his observation that the principles of good management customary in private manufactories were equally applicable to the great public ones subservient to the construction, outfit, and upholding of our Navy. Lord St. Vincent, in his military career, had himself witnessed so much mismanagement in the several naval establishments, as to have led him entirely to coincide in the InspectorGeneral's representations. The consequence was, that Earl Spencer, during his naval administration, confided to the Inspector-General the contrivance of a new system of management for the civil business of the Naval Department; and that, on the change of Administration which took place in 1801, Lord St. Vincent adopted a Report to the King in Council already prepared by the preceding Board of Admiralty, in which it was said: "We are of opinion that the making some fundamental alterations in the system under which the business of the Dockyards is at present conducted would be attended with advantage to the public service, and under that impression we have made some progress in the preparation of a new System of Management,
founded on general principles of acknowledged efficacy." This Report was sanctioned by the King in Council, 21st May, 1801. Lord St. Vincent caused some partial regulations to be carried into effect, as recommended in that Report, amongst others those for the better management of timber, the introduction of which was confided to the InspectorGeneral; and he was also charged with the completion of the intended new system, as he had proposed it should be carried out throughout the whole of the Naval Departments subordinate to the Board of Admiralty.
The observations and suggestions now laid before the public have been put together on a comparison of the measures indicated, and evils brought to notice, by the Select Committee of 1848, with those that Lords Spencer and St. Vincent had intended for the correction of similar extravagance. Both official and private correspondence has been referred to, as well as many papers that in private communication with Lords Spencer and St. Vincent were submitted to their Lordships by the InspectorGeneral, and approved of by their Lordships. The opinions are those that were entertained by him as