12 JUNE 1880, Page 3

It seems impossible to induce Governments to do ordinary business

like other people. If a Minister ever understood "business," he was the late First Lord of the Admiralty, who remains among his bestarred colleagues still "Mr. Smith," yet on Monday Dr. Cameron described two extraordinary instances of Admiralty blundering. In 1878, the Admiralty ordered porter for the East to the amount of 26,225. The order was afterwards revoked, but the Admiralty paid compensation to the amount of 22,750. In another case of the same kind, when porter had been ordered to the amount of 28,250, they actually sold it back to the brewers, whose premises it had never left, for 24,725. Again, the Admiralty bought hay at Rotter- dam which, with wharfage, cost them 1,13,790. They found they did not want the hay ; the War Office very unkindly refused to buy it of them, and they sold it for 21,590, actually losing 27,200 on hay which, without wharfage, had cost 26,900. Mr. Smith entirely admitted the facts, but attributed them partly to want of accord between the Admiralty and the War Office, and partly to that average of accident to which every establishment is liable. That last excuse is quite sound, but then in most establishments somebody is punished when accidents become too frequent. Was Colonel Stanley wigged, or the official who sold the hay ? Why are not Government old stores sold by auction ?