§ House in Committee of Supply.
§ MR. WARD
Although the votes in connexion with the Navy Estimates, which it is my duty to bring under the consideration of the Committee to-night, turn almost exclusively on one point, which the Select Committee on the Navy Estimates has very properly refused to investigate, because they felt that the question is one that can only be decided on considerations of general policy, with which it is the peculiar attribute of the Crown and of Parliament to deal; yet, as it is obviously impossible for me to consider the number of men to be maintained for the service of 1848–9, without raising other questions connected with the Navy Estimates, and involving a very large amount of expenditure, I hope the House will favour me with its indulgence while I endeavour—studiously separating those points on which inquiry can take place from the question of the force which it is necessary to maintain—to make 776 some observations on the general system with which we have to deal, and on which Parliament, dealing with the subject as a whole, has to pronounce its decision. And, Sir, I could not separate these questions if I would, for my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose has told me—and I feel very grateful to him for it—that he considers the number of men to be voted for the year as the root of all the evil. My hon. Friend is perfectly right, that if we have more men we must have more ships; we must have more stores, we must have more building materials, we must have larger building establishments—just as, if we have a large steam navy, we must have steam factories to keep it in repair, and a larger civil establishment in order to superintend these additional expenses. I go with my hon. Friend entirely on this point, and I think the broad question before the House is, how we are to deal with the expenditure which has grown up within the last few years? The questions are all parts of a whole. Either we are wrong or we are right in the policy which Parliament and the country have followed for the last six years. If we are wrong, the sooner that is proved, and the country begins to reverse its steps, the better; but if we are right, then I think that I am justified in expressing a hope that this House will not begrudge the means necessary to carry out that which is declared to be necessary. On this matter I join issue with my hon. Friends behind me; and in doing so I shall put the question on the broadest possible grounds, and give them the benefit of every fact that they think may tell in their favour. Between them and me there is the widest difference. What they blame, I glory in. What they call profligate and extravagant, I am prepared to maintain is necessary and wise; and on that ground I shall call for the decision of the Committee on the question between us. When I speak of this expenditure being wise and necessary, I speak of the general policy of the country as displayed in the Navy Estimates of the last six years. But I admit also the propriety of the closest investigation of the whole subject before the Select Committee. And I will say this, that there is no man who will go into that investigation with a sincerer desire to see every error detected, and corrected in the present state of the Navy expenditure, than I shall; and I say the same of every Member of the Board of Admiralty, in whose name I now speak. I speak of the prin- 777 ciple of our expenditure, and not of the details. No doubt, in the expenditure of past years, many mistakes have been committed. No doubt the money might occasionally have been better spent, and would have been better spent if there had been more time for making the arrangements. I have, however, to-night to deal with the general principle of the expenditure: I will show the House what has already been done—what are the fruits that that expenditure has already produced—and what are the savings that we may in future anticipate from it; and it is then for the House and for the country to pronounce on the soundness of the policy that has been pursued hitherto. If my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose can reduce the number of men to be voted tonight by 10,000 or 7,000, or whatever other number he proposes to suggest—if he can show that he can do so safely—I admit that there never was a time when a reduction of expenditure was more called for than at present, or when there was a greater desire to see it carried out by many large constituencies, including, I will add, my own. I know how great is the influence on this point possessed by my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Cobden), with whom I have acted for many years, and for whose services and abilities I entertain the highest respect, and whose good opinion and friendship I hope to retain, notwithstanding any differences that may be found between us this evening. The question to be decided is, are we right or are we wrong in proposing to the House of Commons a vote of 1,425,380l., under No. 1 of the present Estimates, to provide an establishment of 27,500 seamen, 2,000 boys, and 13,500 marines, making a total force of 43,000 in all for the financial year 1848–9? And here I would beg to remind the Committee that I have some difficulty in testing this, for there has been no division in the House on this branch of the Navy Estimates for nearly twenty years. The standard of the force to be kept up has been always varying, yet Parliament and the country have always concurred in the increase. In 1817 the naval force amounted to only 19,000 men. Without any apparent cause this number increased to 25,000 in 1823. In 1824 and 1825 it was 29,000; in 1826 it was 30,000; in 1830 it was 27,000; in 1835 it was 26,500; in 1839 it was 33,000; in 1840 it was 39,000; and in 1841 and 1842 it was 43,000. My hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) has reminded me that 778 in one instance a division took place during the period I specified; but in no case has there been any serious opposition to the increase. I know I shall be told that there was always some cause existing to justify former increase, and that such increased votes were always followed by reductions as soon as tranquillity was restored. I find, for instance, on looking at the estimates for former years, that in 1843 and 1844 the number of men voted was 39,000, and that in 1844–5, at the close of the Chinese war, the number was reduced to 36,000. But 36,000 men was taken as the standard of a proper peace establishment by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel), and by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham), and yet that number exceeded by 10,000 men the standard of 1835. But what was the consequence? Why, that the experience of a single year was found to be sufficient to prove to these right hon. Gentlemen that that number of 36,000 was not sufficient, and we accordingly find them in the next year increasing the establishment, in a time of profound peace, to 40,000. In 1846–7 the number was also 40,000. In 1847–8 we increased that number by 1,500 marines, stating, that in the opinion of Lord Minto, Lord Haddington, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord Auckland, an addition of 3,000 men to this branch of the naval establishment was indispensable; and we now propose to make a further addition of 1,500 marines to complete the number sanctioned without a division by the late Parliament. Now, I ask, how are we to account for this constant and invariable acquiescence on the part of this House in this great increase? There is no abstract love of expenditure prevailing in the country. Nobody likes being taxed to support a useless armament. No; but there is a feeling existing that all power is relative—that it is not a fixed but a fluctuating element—that a nation cannot stand still, while all others progress, without losing the position which it formerly filled; and I must say, that, of all positions, the most perilous is to be at once wealthy and weak—to have possessions spread over every quarter of the globe, and a commerce filling every sea, without a navy adequate to afford them protection—and to see, at home, our harbours crowded with merchant vessels, with no military organisation for their defence. I know that my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Cobden) will tell me that the softening influences of free trade, which 779 bind men together in a common interest, render such precautions unnecessary. This may be very well a hundred years hence, when these softening influences become generally extended; but, at the present moment, where, I ask, is the country with which they are so well established as to warrant the smallest reduction in our expenditure? Where is the probability that a man even of distinction and eminence, like the hon. Member for the West Riding, can find influence enough to carry a proposition for a grand reduction in the armed forces of the world, on the ground that fifty years hence we may have great commercial interests springing up between us and countries with which we are at present connected by no particular ties? I am told, too, that we may look to democratic institutions for a pledge for peace. Upon that point, I am sorry to say that I cannot agree in some of the theories that are put forward. I do not pretend to look into futurity, but I can look to the past; and I think history will tell us that all the great conquering States of antiquity were republics. The studies of our schoolboy days have taught us the mutual hatred of Carthage and Rome, and the proverbial pugnacity of Greece; and if we come nearer our own time, we find that democratic States have not been entirely strangers to warlike acts and feelings. I have seen something of the New World. I know the history of the conquest of Texas, and the origin of the present war between the United States and Mexico; and I confess that the novel principle of "annexation" inspires me with little faith in the moderation or morality of modern democracies. Sir, men are men under whatever form of government they may live; and therefore the only security that I can see for a rich and industrious community like this, is to rely on its own power for its own defence—to set a good example to the world by the regard which it displays for peace, but not to rest on any Utopian theories for the national security. That is the principle on which, ever since 1815, the Parliament of this country has invariably acted; and I say that it is a good, wholesome, practical English principle, worth a whole bushel of free-trade theories. It is the only principle on which this country can or ought to rely. If I go back as far as the Finance Committee of 1817, I find that this principle was then acknowledged as fully as now. My noble Friend, Lord Hatherton, wrote to me the other day to state that he 780 was a Member of that Committee, and that Lord Castlereagh, on being asked, in his examination before it, what he thought the policy of England ought to be, he replied, "To keep up a navy equal to the navies of any two Powers that can be brought against us." The Finance Committee of 1817 acted in this spirit, when it reported that—Esteeming the naval superiority of this country as the principle on which its external power, internal safety, and general prosperity in the highest degree depend, your Committee are of opinion that the sense which they entertain of the necessity for economy cannot, with a due regard to the interest of the State, be allowed to interfere with the support of such a maritime force as may be deemed necessary in time of peace, nor with the preparation for its adequate augmentation in the event of war. And as naval expenditure, in time of peace, is principally connected with the purchase and preparation of materials for future exigency, there is no part of the public service in which an ill-judged temporary economy might be ultimately productive of such considerable expense.Now, I say that that is very wise and wholesome advice; and if my hon. Friend tells me that we can reduce our present force by 10,000 men, I say that he refers to a state of the world totally different from what we now see around us. The next great and marked epoch in naval history is that commenced by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), when he was in power in 1844. I know the right hon. Baronet had the good fortune to inspire my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, as he inspired the whole world, with the most implicit confidence in his peaceful intentions. We knew his abilities. We always admired his efforts to maintain peace. I believe there never were two men who showed themselves more desirous to preserve the peace of the world than the right hon. Baronet and Lord Aberdeen. Their measures in this respect were crowned with complete success. But what did the right hon. Baronet make the basis of that policy? Why, a very large increase in our own means of defence. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, who was the great naval economist of 1834, concurred in this policy, and assisted in fixing, in time of profound peace, our naval force at 40,000 men, as a proper peace establishment for 1845. He concurred further in the additional large estimate, compared with his own former economy, of 185,000l., which was sanctioned by the Treasury as a necessary supplement for the year 1845, in order to hurry on our great steam preparations. 781 And I beg the House to remark, that it was from this period, when we had three men of eminent sagacity presiding over public affairs—that it was from this period that we date every one of those expenses of which my hon. Friends behind me now complain. Within that period there has been a very large increase in all the principal items of naval expenditure. In 1834, the vote for men was 958,761l.; in 1845, the vote for men was 1,348,353l. The dockyard wages in 1834 amounted to 350,612l.; in 1845, to 649,104l. Taking the vote for naval stores for the same two years, I find that in 1834 it was 426,958l.; in 1845, it was 1,273,789l., with a supplementary estimate of 185,000l., making in all nearly 1,500,000l., The same vote for 1846–7 was 1,694,152l. Now, all this did not arise from any wanton or wicked desire for war, or any love for extravagant expenditure on the part of the Government then in power. Nobody pretends it. There never was greater unanimity on the part of the House and the country. Is it not unjust, then, to turn round on us, and to say that this is a policy for which we alone are responsible? I find the same increase in other items. In 1834, the amount of timber used in the dockyards was 11,000 loads; in 1845, the amount was 27,000 loads. In 1834, the copper expended was 601 tons; in 1845, it was increased to 1,158 tons. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) congratulated the right hon. Baronet the other night on his "modest" Navy Estimates for 1834; but my hon. Friend forgot that the estimates for which the right hon. Baronet became subsequently responsible, were amongst the largest upon record; and I confess that I honour the right hon. Baronet equally for his economy and his courage. He saw steam navies growing up in every direction around us. He looked not to France alone, but to Russia, France, and the United States, and he saw a formidable power coming into existence in the steam navies of those countries, with which our old sailing vessels were unfit to cope, and he resolved that England should not be exposed to the chances of weak armaments and undefended dockyards. The fact is, that what others do, we must do also; we must keep our place, or our superiority is at an end for ever. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark says, that this change is uncalled for, because the United States, with as large a commerce, has a navy, numerically, very inferior to ours. I need not allude to the 782 manner in which other Powers are coping with us all over the world—in the Mediterranean—in the Chinese seas—and in the Pacific; but my hon. Friend forgets that England is a great colonial, as well as a great commercial. Power. He forgets what my noble Friend at the head of the Government remarked the other night, that we may be right or wrong, but that the colonies of England have been esteemed by all parties as one of the great sources of her power and wealth; and that as long as we have colonies, we are bound to protect them. In this respect we are far different from the United States, who have not an acre of land in their possession beyond their own immediate territory. That is the reason why our force is scattered over the whole surface of the globe, and that we are forced on each station to keep up a sort of equality of power with every one who comes in contact with us. And, when we are dealing with the increase of the estimates since 1844, we must recollect the circumstances under which that increase in them has taken place. We must recollect that it was the avowed determination of one neighbouring country, in the event of a rupture, to cripple our commerce in detail; while the dispute with the United States respecting Oregon, rendered their force in the Pacific necessarily the standard of our own. I may here say, that another reason for the change which then took place was the false policy which we had pursued for a series of years, of not maintaining a sufficient establishment in the dockyards—of living, I may say, on capital, and draining off all our stores, so that if, in the last moment, anything like a sudden aggression had come, England would have been wholly without means of making an immediate preparation. I have looked a good deal latterly into that matter, as I was rather curious to see what had been the reduction in some of the principal articles of expenditure while this great economy prevailed. I find that in 1832, before the reign of economy began, we had in the dockyards 64,000 loads of timber, which in 1841 was reduced to 46,000. There were altogether 101 sets of rigging, and these were reduced within that period to 36. Similar reductions took place in sails, in yards, in cables; and, in short, the stores were frittered down generally to the lowest quantity, by not in each year making purchases equal to the annual expenditure until the lowest point was reached in 1840, before the commencement of the 783 Syrian war. That, I maintain, was a spurious and bastard economy, not to be adopted or reckoned on in any permanent system. I know of no wiser act than that adopted in 1844, when an immense addition was made to the naval stores under the Administration which preceded the present one. I have ventured to remind my hon. Friends behind me what was the system that we found established with the concurrence of Parliament, of our predecessors, and of the country, on our accession to office in 1846. Now, the question is, ought that policy to have been altered? It was no doubt in our power to have disclaimed all connexion with it, and to have claimed credit with the country for putting an end to what might have been called an improvident expenditure. We Slight have denounced as extravagant, what we knew to be indispensable. We might have left the works which had been commenced, unfinished; but if we had done this, we should have taken a most unworthy course for any Government to pursue—a course which would have been unwise, as well as unworthy, and which would have been attended with the most ruinous consequences to the country, for it would have robbed it of the benefit of all the exertions that had been already made, at a very considerable outlay. Sir, we scorned this course. In 1846, I warned my hon. Friends that this was not the policy which Her Majesty's Government proposed to adopt, and that no reduction of expenditure was to be looked for until the great works in progress had been brought to a conclusion. A very large expenditure had been going on in all our principal yards. We found great works in progress at Woolwich, Chatham, Portsmouth, Devonport, and other places; and I say it would have been a most unwise and most unworthy course to have put a stop to them. We took what I believe was the proper course. We resolved on carrying on those works systematically and vigorously. We now ask the House to continue the system for another year, and then we shall come to a period when We may legitimately look for those reductions in the expenditure that are so much to be desired. I believe that we are now on the point of reaping the fruits of the expenditure in which we have been involved. I believe that we may look for-ward to seeing that reduction commencing in the estimates for the year 1849–50. I think that we can already see our way to a reduction to a very considerable amount 784 in the estimates for the ensuing year; and this, not because great undertakings have been abandoned, but because great undertakings have been completed, by a perseverance in the system which we found begun before our accession to office. For instance, we take this year under Vote No. 11, the largest vote ever taken for new works—688,601l.—though a part of that increase is apparent, and not real, because a corresponding reduction is made in other votes (8 and 10), to which the amount was previously charged. The vote is, however, a very large one for this branch of the national expenditure; and I have the greater satisfaction in stating, that the vote for next year will be only 473,000l., making a saving in one item alone of 214,643l. In this, we are paying due regard to the decision of the House on the proposal for increasing the income-tax. When that proposal was first brought forward, it was intended to push on with greater rapidity works that must now be spread over a larger number of years. To the decision of the House the Government must bow; but I certainly am inclined to think that it would have been far more desirable to finish these works at once, and to give the country the benefit of them. It is, however, the legitimate right of the House to force its conclusions on the Government, and by them we must abide. But the real cause of the reduction of 214,000l. in 1849 is, not the abandonment but the completion of many of the great works now in progress. Our great object is to give the country some tangible and positive result for the expenditure that has been going forward. We shall finish Portsmouth in the ensuing financial year, as we have already finished Woolwich and Chatham. The expenditure on the works at Malta must now be spread over a period of two years; but, taking the question as a whole, we shall be able not only to reduce the expenditure under No. 11, by 214,000l. in 1849–50, but the reduction will go on afterwards at the rate of from 60,000l. to 70,000l. a year, until 1854, when the whole of the works originally projected by our predecessors in office will be completed, and the country will be subjected afterwards to an expenditure of only 100,000l. or 120,000l. for superintendence and repairs. I come now to another item upon which an immense outlay has been made during the last ten years—I mean steam machinery. The vote in the present estimates is 280,000l.; but we shall be enabled to reduce it in 1849–50 to 785 100,000l. Not that the present vote is too high, because there are contracts for machinery still in progress which must be paid for, but because, with the help of that vote, on the 1st of April, 1849, this country will have a steam navy of 45,000 horse-power; and then, we think, we may fairly pause in the career of expenditure which has been incurred for the purpose of creating that branch of our naval force. England will have altogether at the beginning of 1849 an effective force of 460 ships of different rates and classes, including 121 steamers; and, without pretending to fix the proportions which sailing vessels and steam vessels should bear to each other, or the force which England should permanently maintain—for that must depend upon occurrences of which no man can judge beforehand—I think the Board of Admiralty is warranted in stating that it sees its way to a considerable reduction in the building establishments and stores after the programme for the ensuing year shall have been completed. This is not all. From the introduction of saw-mills, and machinery of that kind, with other costly works now erected, the country has a right to expect a corresponding reduction of manual labour. We are very anxious not to make those reductions fall too heavily upon the labourers. We do not want to swell the amount of unemployed labour at this present time; and for that reason I should prefer giving up all patronage, by reducing the number of apprentices to be taken in the coming year, and not filling up vacancies to large or sudden dismissals. I have put together what I think may be the probable reductions that it is in our power to hold out in the estimates for 1849–50; and I am enabled to submit this estimate of their amount, with the approbation of Lord Auckland and the other Members of the Board of Admiralty:—
786 If to this I add, for the reductions on wages to artificers, labourers, and others employed on the establishments at home and abroad—reductions in labour and in stores—to be carried on systematically, 150,000l., which I think we can safely undertake to effect, it will give a total saving upon the estimates of 1849–50 of 606,853l. This, Sir, will be done, after leaving an ample margin for all the important heads of naval expenditure. It will be done after leaving 100,000l. for new steam machinery, 135,000l. for factory wages and repairs, 473,000l. for new works, 1,747,000l. for dockyard wages and stores, and after making no reduction that we do not think it perfectly possible to combine with a Navy in the most thoroughly efficient state. It is obvious the country has a right to reap the benefit, as soon as it can be effected safely, of the enormous expenditure which has been going on for the last six years. I find that the outlay since 1835 has been, in round numbers, as follows:—
Reduction on new works, improvements, and repairs £214,643 On the purchase and repair of steam machinery 180,000 On building iron steam vessels (the last contract for which will be completed in the ensuing year) 25,000 On ships building at Bombay (which it is not the intention of Government to continue) 25,000 On fitting steam guard-ships (the last contract for which will expire this year 8,500 On building a tank vessel and a schooner at Bermuda 3,710 Making a total reduction of £456,853
Up to the close of the ensuing financial year this large sum has been laid out in these four items alone; and surely for that it is high time the country should begin to obtain something in the way of benefit. But it is equally clear that we have obtained great benefits as the result of this expenditure. I think the House will see that by persevering in the course which we found marked out for us, we have placed the national establishments in the most efficient and available state. On the 1st April, 1849, we shall have a steam navy of very nearly 50,000 horsepower; whereas in 1835 the steam navy was only of 4,153 horse-power. We shall have the two great factories at Portsmouth and Woolwich in a most efficient state for undertaking all steam repairs. At Portsmouth, although it is not the intention of the present Board to go on with those larger plans proposed by our predecessors, yet the whole space of ground ceded by the Ordnance to the Admiralty has been enclosed, and surrounded by a sea-wall, so that it may be available whenever any further extensions are required. The great basin, one of the most magnificent works of modern times, frill be open for use in the course of the ensuing 787 month. The basins at Keyham are progressing most satisfactorily. Malta is provided with a dock for the largest ships, and will he fit, next year, to undertake the repairs of the whole of the Mediterranean fleet. Bermuda, after twenty years of absolute neglect, is likely now to become a station worthy of a great naval Power. When we look at all these things, accomplished by the system which was begun in 1844, and persevered in up to this time, I think we may say the naval establishments of this country never were in a more efficient state, and that England was never in a better position to preserve the peace of Europe, because she never was in a position in which she could prove herself more formidable in the event of war. I put it, then, to the House, whether they will agree to a Motion which will cripple these resources, and undo all that has been done in the last ten years, by refusing the men who alone can give vitality and strength and efficiency to the system we have created; or whether they will sanction the vote which we propose, and maintain a force worthy of those other establishments that have been made so efficient? I know some singular ideas have been broached of late, as to the services required from our ships and seamen engaged on foreign service. My hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding has represented that the lives of English naval officers on foreign service are a continual tissue of pleasures without any real duty; and he has pictured to himself an easy indolent existence, passed under groves of laurel and orange trees, where officers and men retire from the heat and burden of the day. He really seems to imagine that the life of an English officer on board a man of war on foreign service is a constant series of pleasures without any hardship; but let me draw his attention to a paper I placed in his hands the other day, showing the disposition of our fleets. Let my hon. Friend look at that paper, and he will find that our Navy is scattered over a large portion of the globe, over which our possessions are spread. Let him look at the stern realities of the service, and not at those visions which his poetical imagination has conjured up; and he will find that after all there is something for the naval servants of a great maritime Power to look after and to protect, and that those peaceful enjoyments in which he believed them to indulge, occupy but a small fraction of their time. Let my hon. Friend ask the people of Sicily, the inhabitants of 788 Palermo or Messina, or of any other town where British officers have acted the part of mediators, and protectors of their countrymen, in the convulsions that have recently occurred, whether a British fleet in the Mediterranean was useless? Let him ask whether the power of England has ever been more wisely, firmly, or sagaciously exercised than by Sir W. Parker during the last six months? Let him look at the Pacific, from Cape Horn to Behring's Straits, and see our squadron of twelve ships there with 3,500 men. Amid the disturbances of Spanish South America they have given protection to English merchants established in all the places where peace has been interrupted; and where does he think could the officers engaged on this service have found time for the enjoyment he supposes? Let him look at the East Indies, at the five great ports of China, at each of which, by treaty, we have a ship for the protection of our commerce. Sir, you have seen the whole Indian Archipelago cleared of pirates by Sir Thomas Cochrane, and portions of the fleet under his command concurring in the protection of the colonists in New Zealand, where they vied with the Army in feats of daring gallantry, upon the coast of Africa our fleet has been discharging the most arduous duties in the most exemplary manner. There may be doubts as to the necessity or the policy of maintaining that fleet upon that station; but there can be none as to the manner in which its duties have been discharged. The hon. Gentleman has taken an opportunity to allude to our squadron in the Tagus. Now I venture to say, that instead of being an idle and unprofitable cruise, the squadron under Admiral Napier has been the best naval school England ever possessed. There never was a commander-in-chief who has shown a more indefatigable spirit, or who has done more to train and exercise his men in order to make them efficient, or who has manifested greater ability in making their services effective. Sir, I am sensible that I have traced these subjects out very imperfectly, but I believe I have placed the whole question fairly before the House. If we are to give way, after what has been done, to this cry for economy, without reference to the past, or regard to the future, but looking simply to present exigencies, my firm belief is, that those very constituencies which have been loudest in their demands for reduction, would be the first to express their indignation at the vacillation and imbecility which would be shown in 789 abandoning a system, before we had made it efficient, or given the country the benefit of its past outlay. I have had many applications made to me from my own constituency; but I have always said, "You do not know the case. This is not a question of patronage or place-hunting upon the part of the Government. There is a great national object to be attained, which has been pursued for a long series of years; and I would rather, a thousand times, sacrifice my chance of representing Sheffield again, than consent to abandon that object, when brought within our grasp." I think that is the way in which these representations should be met; and it only requires a little moral courage to meet them successfully. A new Member coming into this House for the first time, may easily believe that the naval expenditure for the ensuing year is unprecedented and unnecessary; but as to many hon. Members whom I see around me, I confess I have been astounded at the language they have used, when I recollect the policy to which, for the last six years, they have been assenting parties. I believe we have a great, a dignified, and a consistent course before us; and I think, after the sacrifices we have made, it would be the height of impolicy to forfeit the results by abandoning the establishments which for ten years we have laboured to make complete. The only secret for national security, in a country like this, and in times like the present, is, to have the power to repel aggression, come whence it may; and I entreat hon. Members, however seducing the demand for economy may appear, to concur in the vote I am about to propose, rather than cripple the resources which they have been endeavouring to create, by a great and systematic outlay. For myself, I have such perfect confidence in their judgment, when brought to the test, that I shall put the question to the House in the plainest and broadest way, and have no doubt as to the issue. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that a sum not exceeding 593,000l. be granted.
On steam machinery £2,689,000 Iron steam vessels 503,000 Stores (since 1844) 4,444,000 Works 2,794,000 £10,430,000
§ MR. HUME
objected to the question being put. It had been understood that no money was to be voted until the Committee had reported. He had no objection to a vote being taken for the number of men, in order that the Government might bring in the Mutiny Bill; but he did object to voting money, as it would be in fact, a breach of faith.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that in the case of the Navy there was no distinct and separate vote for the number of men; while in the case of the Army the first vote in the estimates was for the number, and the way proposed was the only one that could be adopted.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that the hon. Gentleman had treated this as a question of prerogative, inferring that all that the House of Commons had to do was to vote the money, without reference to the number of men. But how did that apply in the case of the Army when, as the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, the practice was to vote the number of men as well as the money? He found in the Journals of the last year, 1847, page 181, that Mr. Greene reported that the Committee of Supply had passed several resolutions, the first being that a sum not exceeding 185,000l. be granted to defray the expenses, &c.; and the second resolution being that 31,500 men be employed in the sea service for thirteen lunar months, to the 31st day of March, 1848; and the third resolution being that a sum not exceeding 1,323,000l. be granted for wages of seamen. If this were a specimen of the practice of the House, it appeared that there had been a separate resolution for the number of men, and that it had been submitted to the House before the vote for the wages of those seamen. Some explanation should be given of this, for it appeared but reasonable that the House should have the opportunity of discussing the number of men as well as the amount of money to be voted.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
had not had time since the speech of the hon. Gentleman to refer to the estimates of former years in the library; but, unless his memory failed, the practice had been that before the vote which the Chairman had been about to put with respect to the means of paying the officers and men, there had always been an enumeration of the number of seamen, boys, and marines to be voted, signed by the responsible advisers of the Crown. He was surprised when he saw that the usual form had been deviated from in the estimates for the present year, and that the number of men required had been only printed in very small letters. Mr. Bernal 791 would no doubt be able to inform the Committee whether the estimates were not this year printed in a form different to that of preceding years.
§ MR. HUME
wanted to raise the question of the number of men, because the expenses of other departments depended upon it, and it was useless to inquire into those details if the Committee upstairs were precluded from entering upon the question of the number of men. He begged to suggest that the number of men be first taken, in conformity with all preceding practice.
The EARL of LINCOLN
hoped the Secretary to the Admiralty and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would now withdraw the novel doctrine they had promulgated, that the number of men was determined by the prerogative of the Crown.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Then what became of the ingenious argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which, no doubt, had had such an effect upon the House?
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
His right hon. Friend was quite right in saying that there was a declaration every year in the Queen's Privy Council of the Crown having decreed a certain number of men for the Navy. This was not the custom with the Army estimates; and, in the case of the Navy, of course a subsequent alteration might be made by the House. But, so far, the Crown possessed a prerogative; and, so far, the explanation of his right hon. Friend had been correct.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
The Queen in Council certainly did so decree; but, in consequence of that declaration, there had always been set forth, in the first vote of the House, under the name of the First Lord of the Admiralty and of the Board of Admiralty, the responsible advisers of the Grown, the precise number of men proposed by the Government for the service; and it was always then open to any Member of the House to suggest any reduction which might be thought expedient.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
It was quite true that the first vote put into the hands of the Chairman 792 related to the number of men; but this never appeared, as the right hon. Baronet seemed to suppose, in the estimates. The right hon. Baronet was under a misapprehension in supposing that any document bearing the signature of the First Lord of the Admiralty was ever laid on the table of the House stating the number of men to be proposed.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
The first vote, he contended, was signed by the Members of the Board of Admiralty; the vote now in the hands of the Chairman was so signed.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The vote was so signed, but there was no estimate of the number of men which was signed.
§ MR. HUME
said this was as it ought to be. Mistakes would arise in the best regulated families; and he would say nothing of the confusion of mind which seemed to exist upon this point. He felt at some loss how to deal with his hon. Friend (Mr. Ward), who seemed to glory in his extravagance, and to take credit for the fact that during the last five years the naval expenditure had been rapidly increasing. His hon. Friend evidently approved of the policy of this increase; and he did not see that any protest of his as to the details was likely to produce much effect. His hon. Friend started with arguing that our power must be relative, and in proportion to the strength of our neighbours'. He was willing to admit that, and he would rest his case upon the admission. We had nothing to dread now; he knew by the Speech from the Throne that we were at peace with all the world. There was a great change taking place in France at this moment, and there were commotions throughout the continent of Europe; but, supposing those commotions to continue, and even Austria and Prussia to change their Governments, he did not see how the question with regard to our fleet would be thereby affected. The only Powers from whom we had anything to apprehend were France and the United States. The Americans had already had to suffer from meddling, and they were not at all likely, just now, to come into collision with us; on the contrary, they evinced the most peaceful disposition towards us. And, with respect to France, it seemed to him 793 quite clear, that when a people were divided among themselves, and employed in intestine strife, they would be very little able, were they so inclined, to make any hostile external aggressions. He saw no reason, therefore, for any apprehension, and he protested against these heavy estimates being justified on the ground that there was danger to be feared from either of those quarters. He had before advised the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), when the budget was brought forward, to demonstrate to the people of France, by reducing our estimates and disarming some of our ships, that our feelings towards that country were unequivocally friendly; and to confirm the view he had taken of public opinion in France, he would now refer the House to the reply which had been given by M. Arago, Minister of the Marine, the other day, to a deputation of Englishmen headed by Mr. Sturge. M. Arago said that he was glad to find England was well disposed to maintain friendly terms; and it was well known that directions had been given that no increase whatever should take place in the French navy. This showed a friendly disposition on the part of France; and the fact ought surely to have some weight on the House. His hon. Friend asked where was the bond of peace? but where, it might be inquired in return, was the cause of strife? We were at present on good terms with all parties, and we should much more effectually perpetuate that by reducing our armaments, than by maintaining the most costly establishments, and thus evidencing suspicion and distrust. His hon. Friend indicated that they could place no confidence in republican Governments. His hon. Friend seemed to infer, because America had played a very foolish and unjust part, that no faith could be given to France under the same form of government; but this was not a tenable argument—it was as much as to say A had done wrong, therefore have nothing to do with B. England, said his hon. Friend, was rich; she ought not to be left in a weak state, and no risk ought to be run of crippling her resources. But was his hon. Friend not adopting the most direct means, by keeping up these enormous establishments, of destroying our resources? His hon. Friend was naturally a partisan in his department; but this enthusiasm for expense ought not to influence the House. His hon. Friend blamed the House for remissness in conceding the estimates of former years, and he insisted now that the experiment entered upon should be 794 fairly tried. Why, asked his hon. Friend, had they not objected in 1844 and 1845? Why, for the best of all reasons, their purses were then full; and now, as their funds were falling short, it was equally natural that they should begin to consider how they could be economical. The House had no information at this moment before it how the money for the expenses they were about to incur was to be got. There was no doubt that there had been great extravagance in the Navy; there had been, more particularly, great waste in the stores. Stores which had cost 1,000,000l., were found eventually, when not wanted, to sell for no more than 60,000l. There had been in this department gross neglect and mismanagement; and if there was one thing more than another open to approval in the naval administration of the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Graham), it was the course he pursued in avoiding the purchase of more perishable stores than were absolutely required for the current year. The policy of the right hon. Baronet had been the most truly economical. The system at present adopted was false economy in every point of view. His hon. Friend boasted now of the warehouses being filled, and prophesied a magnificent future in five years. In 1849 we were promised we should be in the proudest possible situation—the envy of the whole world; we should then have at our command 450 ships of war. Well, what was to be done with them? Were they all to lie idle and rot, as had hitherto been the result? His hon. Friend entreated them to grant his demands now, and, as a reward for docility, he promised them a reduction of 856,000l. by and by. He wanted to know why they were not granted that reduction at once this year? His hon. Friend referred them with pride to our ships scattered all over the world; but the rational complaint was, that those ships were stationed where they could be of no possible use, and where they might do much mischief. There was a strong squadron on the south-west coast of America; but half the number was not wanted? When the late Government was in treaty with the American Government, and there was some danger of a rupture of peace, the presence of such a fleet might have been serviceable; but since all questions of difference were passed over and settled, and we had not an acre of ground there to look after, what earthly necessity could there be for making so costly a demonstration of force? They were told to look to the advantages they 795 had derived from their squadron off Sicily. He would candidly admit that the ships there had proved, on a late emergency, to have been of some use; but a couple of frigates would have been quite sufficient to protect British residents; no reason could be made out for keeping so large a fleet at the station. His hon. Friend justly enough bestowed great praise upon Sir C. Napier; but what had the squadron which had been lying for twelve months in the Tagus actually done? Then there were twenty-seven ships cruising on the deadly coast of Africa, and the result was altogether profitless. Again, we had a regiment and a fleet at Buenos Ayres. What right had we to interfere in the internal affairs of the people there? We acted with the grossest inconsistency; one day we told France that she might change her Governments as she liked, so far as we were concerned; and another day we did precisely what we condemned—overawed and overwhelmed a people, and did this, too, at an enormous cost to ourselves. The fact was, we had too many ships, and the misdirection of such a power was inevitable. His hon. Friend called upon the country not to give way to this ruinous cry for economy. But he denied that past expenditure had been productive of any good whatever. We had made great efforts, and seen no advantages flow from them; and the policy we ought hereafter to adopt was to look after our own interests before we took into account the affairs of other people. He protested against voting so large a force. They did not yet know how the money was to be raised to meet the expenditure proposed. Where were the means to come from? The House had signified very strongly that it would not endure any increase in taxation. The Government originally contemplated an addition of 2 per cent to the income-tax, which, they calculated, would produce to them 2,000,000l., and they had based these estimates on that expectation. This hope had been given up, and yet the estimates remained the same. Would the House, then, incur a debt of 5,000,000l. for two years together? How was it consistent with a failing revenue that an increased expenditure should be going on? In 1835 we had 167 ships of war afloat and 26,500 seamen—an establishment which was found quite sufficient to protect our colonies and the honour of the empire. Ten years after, in 1845, the number of men had increased to 40,000, and that of the ships of war in commission 796 to 234. It was true there was the war with China; but the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) in 1844 said he would only ask 36,500 for the Navy, because the ships sent out to China had not returned, giving the House reason to think that the number of 36,500 men would be reduced, on the return of the ships the ensuing year. In 1848, however, the number of men was 43,000, with 256 ships afloat. One great subject of complaint he had was this, that when the right hon. Baronet had prevailed upon the House to grant 1,000,000l. for a steam navy, it was never intended that we should go on building other ships; whereas we had now 96 steam ships (increased from 75 in 1845), and yet we went on building ships as before. This was a great abuse, which he took shame to himself for not endeavouring to stop. Then, in 1835, there were employed in the dockyards 7,884 men; in 1845 they had increased to 12,194; and it was now proposed to vote 13,219. The number of appointments at the Admiralty, in 1835, was only 1,736; in 1845 the number was 2,301; and now they had increased to 3,479, exactly double what they were in 1835, without any reason for it, and in the face of a decrease in the ordinary revenue. He asked the Committee, therefore, to be a little considerate. He held in his hand a return of the number and distribution of the ships afloat from 1835 to 1848, and it was singular to observe how regularly the number had increased. In 1836 it was 173; in 1837, 189; in 1838, 225; in 1839, 228; in 1840, 241; in 1841, 244; in 1842, 257; in 1843, 237; in 1844, 225; in 1845, 230; in 1846, 249; in 1847, 266; and in 1848, 235. Why this increase was made, when he looked at the state of the world, he defied any man to tell; he thought a reduction of even 15,000 men might be made. If his hon. Friend compared the Navy estimates of 1835–36 with those of 1847–48, he would find that there was no less a difference than 3,300,000l. excess in the latter over the former; and his hon. Friend proposed to add 214,000l. to this large sum, making 7,951,000l. instead of 7,737,000l. The wages of seamen and marines had increased 421,000l. between 1835 and 1847; their victuals had increased in the same time 264,000l.; and naval stores from 426,000l., in 1835, to 1,604,000l., being an increase of 1,277,000l. The aggregate estimates for the effective service of the Navy, in 1835–36, was 2,590,000l., and, in 1847–48, 5,504,000l. In short, almost every item had increased. The average number of men voted for the Navy 797 in the three years, 1833, 1834, and 1835, was 27,000; and in the three years ending 1847–48, 40,000, and now it was proposed to increase the number to 43,000. The Army and Ordnance had increased in the same proportion. The average number of men voted for the Army, Navy, and Ordnance in three years ending 1835–6 was 121,843; but in the three years ending 1847–8 it was 157,059; and this year it was increased to 171,141, being an increase of 50,000 men. And to this number must be added the dockyard battalions and the police, who maintained the internal peace of the country; and he wanted to know why this inordinate increase was requisite? If it was to continue, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he was to get the money? In 1838 there was a deficiency of 655,000l. in the revenue; in 1839, 345,000l.; in 1840, 1,512,000l.; in 1841, 1,593,000l.; in 1842, 2,101,000l.; making a total deficiency of 6,209,000l. When the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) came into office he supplied this deficiency by the income-tax; but if they went on increasing the estimates we should be obliged to submit to 6, 7, or even 10 per cent income-tax to make up the deficiency caused by the expenditure. He was against putting the public credit to hazard; and he therefore counselled the Committee not to vote the estimates until they had taken some means to reduce the expenditure. He entreated the House to consider that the question was whether they would vote a certain number of men; whether they wished to continue a heavy tax, and to add to that tax, in order to avoid ruin. The ordinary annual revenue, in the twelve years from 1831 to 1842, was 50,258,000l. in 1835, the lowest, and 52,837,000l., in 1836, the highest. The total annual expenditure in eight years, from 1831 to 1838, was 48,787,000l., in 1835, the lowest, and 51,720,000l., in 1838, the highest. There was, therefore, more than sufficient revenue to meet the expenditure. If he took the average of the ordinary revenue from 1831 to 1840, 51,161,000l., and that in 1841 and 1842, 51,813,000l., there was a surplus of 651,000l. in 1841 and 1842 over the average of the preceding 10 years. If he took the ordinary revenue of 1846–47, 57,597,000l., and deducted the income-tax 5,543,000l., being 52,054l., the ordinary revenue that year exceeded by 241,000l. the average of 1841 and 1842. This state of the revenue held out a con- 798 solatory hope of the elasticity of the resources of the country, showing that the Government had good materials to work upon, which only required judicious management. If he could see any hope of further improvement in the state of the revenue, or a better state of things throughout the country generally, he might be induced to waive some of his objections; but when he looked at the whole scale on which it was proposed to maintain the Navy, he could not regard it as otherwise than preposterous; he hoped, therefore, that the House would support a Motion for reducing the sum now to be granted to the Crown below the vote of last year, and bringing the number of men down to 36,000. He only begged of hon. Members to turn their attention to the report of the year 1816; they would there see that the Committee, though Lord Castle-reagh was then in power, took the condition of our establishment in 1792 as the basis of their report. In that year we had only 16,000 men for the Navy, including marines. At that time there were no boys in the Navy, and that number of 16,000 included all the naval officers of every description. It appeared to him that in the present condition of the country, looking at all our relations, foreign as well as domestic, a force of 27,000 men would be quite enough, in addition to the 10,000 employed in America and in Africa. He would repeat that the principle upon which his proposition rested was a well-founded principle; but he admitted that, after all, it was only a part of what must be done. When he looked at the amount which the country had to pay—when he compared that amount with the probable means at the disposal of the Crown—when, in short, he compared the revenue with the expenditure, he could not regard that comparison with any other feelings than those of alarm. The hon. Gentleman who proposed these estimates seemed to proceed upon the principle that we were now at war; but we were not at war, and we should husband our resources with the strictest economy. Amongst other items of expenditure from which we could hope for no return, the famine in Ireland had led to an addition of 8,000,000l. to our debt. The commercial and the manufacturing interests of this country were in a state of extreme depression. Unfortunately, at this moment the people of England were called upon to bear not only a vast weight of Government taxes, but a prodigious amount also of local taxation. 799 Instead, then, of adopting the idea that England was rich. Parliament ought to proceed upon the melancholy truth that England was poor. Influenced by such considerations, he called upon the House to support him, and to bring down the numbers and expenses of the Navy to the standard of the year 1836. The hon. Member concluded by moving an Amendment, to the effect that the number of men he 36,000 instead of 43,000, being a reduction of 7,000.
said, that if the debate had been confined to the discussion of the resolution then under consideration, he should not have thought it necessary to offer a single observation on that occasion; but as the general question of the amount of the Navy Estimates of the last few years had been raised by the hon. Member who had last spoken, he felt himself called upon to give the Committee some explanation on the subject. He was, he confessed, astonished at the expressions of surprise and alarm which he had heard from some quarters, respecting the growing increase in the amount of the Navy Estimates, as if the causes of that increase had not been from year to year stated on the face of the estimates themselves, and the sums proposed, upon almost every occasion, unanimously assented to by Parliament. To show that their increased amount was the result not of any want of economy, but of additional charges which had from time to time been thrown upon them, he would institute a comparison between the estimates for the year 1846–7—the last and the largest which were prepared by the late Government—and the estimates for the year 1831—estimates which were proposed by a First Lord of the Admiralty who certainly had never been accused of extravagance in the administration of the Navy—he meant his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon. The year 1835 was, he was aware, the favourite period of comparison with some hon. Members; but he would not revert to that period for a reason which he would presently state; but comparing the estimates for 1831 with those for the year 1846–7, he found that the total increase on account of effective services, amounted to 2,127,615l. Of this additional amount, 171,000l. was for wages, and 41,000l. for the victuals of 6,323 men, for whom political and other considerations had rendered it necessary to be borne. But the charge for these additional men did not stop here; for of course the employment of more men involved the necessity 800 of keeping either a larger number, or else a more expensive description, of ships in commission; and from the best estimate which he could obtain, the additional annual charge on this account for 6,000 men, could not amount to less than 86,000l., which would make a total additional charge consequent on the employment of the additional number of men borne in 1846–7 of 298,000l. The next charge he would advert to was, that for the packet service, which had been transferred from the Post Office to the Admiralty, in the year 1837. Previously to that period, the Admiralty had indeed defrayed the expense of some of the foreign packets; but, after abating this charge as it stood in the estimates for 1831, he found that the additional charge borne by the estimates for 1846–7, amounted to 602,000l., of which 545,000l. was on account of the contract packet service, the cost of which appeared as an item of naval expenditure, while the receipts were credited to another department of Government. But the great cause of increase in the estimates of late years, was the creation of the steam navy, and the construction of the new works in connexion with the dockyards, which the wants of that new arm of the service had rendered indispensable. The estimates of former periods since the Peace had been charged merely with the maintenance of an old and overgrown Navy—those of late have, in addition to the maintenance of the old, with the creation of what he might call a new Navy, and that of a most costly character. Comparing the estimates for 1846–7, with those for 1831, when the steam navy was only in its infancy, he found the additional charges for the later period were as follows:—
If to this were added the estimated cost of the hulls of the steam vessels in course of building in the dockyards, which was included under the votes for wages to artificers, and for the purchase of materials, and which, at the average rate per ton, amounted to upwards of 250,000l., the total additional charge, on account of the steam navy in the estimates for 1846–7, 801 would amount to no less than 1,204,000l., which, added to the 602,000l. on account of the packet service, and to the 298,000l. on account of the additional number of men borne, would give 2,104,000l., within 23,000l. of the whole increase of 2,127,000l., for which he had undertaken to account. The necessity for bearing so large a number of men—for having so extensive a packet communication—and for organising so formidable a steam navy, might be disputed, although, in his opinion, it could easily be defended; but he thought that the statement which he had made must have satisfied the Committee that neither the late nor the present Board of Admiralty were justly chargeable with the imputations of departmental extravagance which had been alleged against them. With respect to the principal cause of increased expenditure he meant the steam navy, his hon. Friend the Secretary of the Admiralty had stated on a former night, in the course of an able and convincing speech what had been the increase of the steam navy since 1835; but the charge of effecting that increase had fallen far more heavily on the estimates of late years than would appear from that statement, because the increase had been far more rapid during the last than during the first half of the period. From the 1st of April, 1842, the date of the first naval estimate prepared by the late Government, to July, 1846, when they retired from office, the increase in the steam navy had been—in number of vessels from 59 to 101; in tonnage from 34,900 to 73,700; and in horse-power from 9,688 to 25,299. This had been the increase in vessels actually built, independently of which the work executed on the hulls of steam vessels left by the late Board of Admiralty in progress of building, represented eight vessels of 8,759 tons, and 3,500 horsepower; and, in addition to this, a large expenditure had been incurred on the hulls and machinery of the eight steam guard-ships which had been ordered to be fitted for the defence of the dockyards and other Channel service by the late Government. He asked how it could have been possible to have effected such an increase of force as this, and which he maintained had been in no respect greater than the safety of the country imperatively required, without a corresponding increase in the amount of the Navy Estimates? But it had been said, that while they were thus adding to the strength of the steam navy, they had 802 gone on increasing that of the sailing navy also, of which the hon. Member for Montrose had alleged that the number was already so great that it would be impossible to man them all in the event of war. He would show that this was a great misconception, and that the number of sailing vessels had been constantly diminishing. The year 1793 used to be a favourite period of economy and of reduced establishments with the hon. Member; and what did he (Mr. Corry) find? Why, that the number of ships of the line in 1793 was 129; while in 1848 it was reduced to 71. Of frigates, in 1793, the number was 155; in 1848, 93. These numbers included the ships which were in an effective state for sea service, as well as those in want of repairs. [Mr. HUME: What was the number of men?] He would come to that question presently. It might be said, that the ships of the several classes were larger and more heavily armed in 1848 than in 1793, and that a smaller number of ships at the latter period might represent as great a force as the larger number at the former; but he would show that there had been a great diminution in the number of sailing vessels since 1835, when the ships of the various classes were as large as at present. The comparison between the number of effective ships of the line and frigates (which excluded those in want of larger repairs) in 1834, and in 1846 stood thus:—
For wages to artificers in the Woolwich steam factory £50,000 For steam vessels built by contract 120,000 For the purchase of steam machinery 390,000 For coals (exclusive of those used in the packet service) 80,000 For steam basins, factories, and docks 314,000 Making a total increase, on account of the steam navy, for services specified in the estimates, of 954,000
And he thought that this ought to satisfy the Committee that there had been no extravagance of late years in building sailing vessels; and the only justification for the several Boards of Admiralty in having suffered their numbers to be reduced so low, was the great exertion which the necessity of organising a steam navy with the utmost despatch had occasioned. The hon. Member for Montrose had asked what was the number of men in 1793, and had intimated the opinion that it would be impossible to find men to man the whole of the vessels at present comprised in the English Navy. In 1792, the number of men borne on the books of the Navy was only 17,361; and, although at that period the seamen employed in the mercantile navy were not near so numerous as at present, the number of men borne was raised in the course of eighteen months to 83,291—a force more than sufficient to complete 803 the complements of the whole of the Navy at the present moment. With respect to the amount of the estimates, there could be no doubt that it would admit of considerable reduction on the completion of the new works now in progress, and the organisation of the steam navy on a scale sufficient for the defence of the country; but he thought that the great exertions which had been necessary of late years in order to effect these objects sufficiently, accounted for the large expenditure which had been incurred, and which some hon. Members attributed to the absence of a due regard to economy on the part of the Naval Department of the Government. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire had, indeed, said that these exertions had been uncalled for; and that it was this country, and not France, which had set the example of exaggerated naval preparation, and had occasioned that rivalry which had caused so great an increase of the expenditure of both nations; but he was prepared to show that this statement was not borne out by the facts of the case, but that every effort which this country had made had been rendered indispensable by efforts already made in the same direction by France, and othe naval Powers. With respect to the vote now under discussion, the number of seamen voted for the French navy of late years had been at least equal to that which had been maintained by this country. The number voted for the French navy for the present year was upwards of 29,000, exclusive of the infanterie and artillerie de la marine, and exclusive also of 1,100 men for the packet service, which in France was provided for by another department of Government, while in this country it was included under the head of naval expenditure. This was actually a larger force than that which had been proposed by his hon. Friend the Secretary of the Admiralty; and he asked whether (more especially at a time like the present, when, as the noble Lord at the head of the Government had said, we were walking, if not in danger, at least in darkness), considering that France had at her disposal so large a military force in comparison with that which was maintained by this country, it would be safe to consent to the reduction in the number of men which had been proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, or to any diminution whatever of the force for which the resolution which had been put from the Chair provided. 804 He had said at the commencement of these observations that he would state to the Committee why he had selected the estimates for the year 1831, instead of those for 1835, for the purpose of comparison with those of the present period. His reason was that the estimates for the present period and those for 1835 were prepared on a totally different principle, and therefore there could be no analogy between them. The estimates for 1846 were prepared on the principle of replacing the stores of every description proposed to be used for the service of the year, and thus maintaining what was called the proper establishment; but in 1835 we were living upon stock, and reducing the quantities of the various articles remaining in store, from year to year, to such an extent, that if the system of taking low estimates had been persevered in for a short time longer, the dockyards would have been absolutely denuded of the means of supplying the ordinary demands for the equipment of the fleet, and, still more, of meeting the exigencies of any unforeseen emergency. These economical times were no doubt exceedingly agreeable as long as they lasted; and some hon. Members were fond of indulging in the pleasing retrospect which they afforded; but they had quite lost sight of the consequences of this mistaken economy, which had been to throw upon future estimates the burden of replenishing our exhausted stores, which had been one of the chief causes of increased naval expenditure which successive Governments had found it necessary to propose. It was not safe for this country to be left at any time without an adequate stock of naval stores, for it would be impossible to purchase the necessary supplies for large ships on the occurrence of any sudden emergency; and it was a great mistake to suppose that the country suffered any loss from maintaining an adequate establishment of the various descriptions of stores, because if kept under shelter, and properly protected from the weather, they were subject to a very trifling degree of deterioration. He had himself seen a specimen of some canvass which had been in Portsmouth dockyard upwards of 100 years, and which was still in a perfect state of preservation. He would only mention, to show the results of the mistaken attempts at economy to which he had adverted, that the vote for stores, which in the favourite year 1835 amounted to only 430,000l., was in- 805 creased in 1840 to 1,000,000l., and in 1841 to 1,337,000l.—the largest amount ever proposed for the purchase of stores since the Peace, with the exception of the estimate which he (Mr. Corry) had himself laid on the table in 1846—of which nearly 400,000l. was for the purchase of steam machinery; and he wished the Committee to bear in mind that the large estimate for 1841 was proposed not by the late Board of Admiralty, but by that over which Lord Minto presided, and at a time when no great effort had as yet been made for the augmentation of the steam navy. Such had been the result of former—as he thought—mistaken attempts at retrenchment; and he thought it far better to leave these questions to the discretion of the Board of Admiralty than to enforce attempts at economy which would only end in disappointment in future years. In conclusion, he sincerely hoped that the great majority of the Committee would support the proposition of the Government. It would be exceedingly unwise—especially in the present posture of affairs—to reduce the strength of our naval force; and he trusted that the hon. Member for Montrose would be left in that inglorious minority which he thought his proposition at such a time so richly merited.
1834. 1846. Ships of the Line 87 64 Frigates 108 89
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
was exceedingly astonished that the hon. Member for Montrose, who so frequently appeared to be well read in history, should have made this Motion. The hon. Gentleman could not have read the address of M. de Lamartine to the different Courts of Europe; he could not have read the speeches that had been made by the members of the Provisional Government. The hon. Gentleman must not be aware that at Dijon there were men who started this principle that war was to be made for the sake of war—that the blood which was shed in war was necessary to refresh the exhausted veins of Europe. No man could have watched the proceedings of the Government of France who would say that war was not likely to occur, and that war within a short period, unless some great changes took place, was not inevitable in Europe. The hon. Gentleman had referred to what had fallen from Mr. Sturge, who headed a deputation to the Provisional Government of France. He would take that opportunity of saying that it was disgraceful to any English gentleman to have presented such an address in Paris. He (Mr. Cochrane) did not by any means wish to make any 806 observations disrespectful to the Provisional Government of France; on the contrary, he had, on a former occasion, said, that, in his opinion, the members of it had gallantly stepped forward in the time of a great emergency, by which course, he believed, they prevented great bloodshed. But if we were to entertain a high admiration of the principle laid down by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, viz., that England ought not to interfere with the affairs of France, for God's sake do not let our countrymen so ostensibly interfere with those affairs as had been done by some English gentlemen recently, who presented an address to the Provisional Government in Paris. It was not for us to censure the proceedings of France; he, for one, at all events, would not join in anything which might approach to an interference, and which must inevitably lead to a collision. The hon. Gentleman had said that there was no disposition on the part of France to make war; he said there were no preparations making for war on the part of France; but had the hon. Gentleman read the history of the Revolution of 1792? Although he would be the last individual to say anything offensive to France, who numbered amongst her children many a gallant man, yet he did think that on the present occasion this country should not be misled. Looking at the present state of affairs he should say that it would be most unwise and prejudicial to the interests of this country to make any reduction in our Array or Navy. Europe generally was threatened with a war; and he believed it would not terminate without England being dragged into it. The hon. Gentleman had asked what had been the result of all our expenditure in keeping our national defences in their present state? He would tell him. Whilst the rest of Europe was convulsed, we were in a more secure state than any other European Power, both internally with regard to our own people, and externally with regard to other nations. He fully agreed with the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that the truest way to prevent war was to be prepared for war, and to avoid misleading our fellow countrymen by the notion that there was no danger to be apprehended from the other States of Europe in the present alarming period.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
wished to ask the noble Lord the Chairman of the Committee that had been recently appointed to inquire into the best mode of lessening 807 the amount of our naval expenditure, or any other Member of the Committee present, what had been done, or was intended to be done, in reference to the proposal that had been made on former occasions by Captain Warner—which proposal, in his (Mr. Aglionby's) opinion, had not yet had a fair trial—it had been cried down in a very unfair manner. If there were anything in that invention—and he was not competent to say whether there were or not—it was but right to the House and the country that the scheme should be fairly tested. As he thought that the proposal was in every way worthy of a fair and deliberate investigation, he wished to ask what course the Committee intended to pursue with regard to it?
§ MR. CUMMING BRUCE
having had the honour of being upon the Committee to which the "long range" of Captain Warner had been submitted, and seeing the very anxious manner in which the hon. Member for Cockermouth had endeavoured to press the claims of the Captain upon the House, wished to warn them against entertaining wild projects, as the testing of them formed a large item in the public expenditure. He advised them not to give too willing an ear to the statements of adventurers, who would endeavour to force their schemes upon the country. He remembered testing the invention of Captain Warner, and he confessed that it appeared to him to be one of the wildest and most chimerical projects that had ever entered into the mind of any man. He entertained a high respect for the hon. Member for Montrose; but surely he could not conceive for one single moment that there was the slightest chance of carrying the proposition which he had just made. His hon. Friend was continually proposing reductions in the public expenditure; being apparently possessed of a notion that "estimate" necessarily implied "reduction" he believed that the hon. Gentleman could form no idea of an estimate in which there was no reduction; in fact, he appeared to be as singularly devoted to "reduction of estimates" as Captain Warner was to his "long range." He really must say that, in his opinion, Her Majesty's present Government had not received from their usual supporters that support on these questions to which he believed they were fairly entitled. Those hon. Gentlemen talked as if Her Majesty's present Government were the first who had ventured to propose an income-tax, and as if all the distress, all 808 the manufacturing and commercial difficulties of the country, were to be ascribed to their measures. They appeared to forget that the income-tax originated with the late Government, and that our distress was attributable in a great measure to the monetary laws introduced by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. It should be recollected that Her Majesty's present Government had not sought for office; the administration of the affairs of this country was really forced upon them; and it was not fair to charge them with the faults of their predecessors. He did not profess unlimited confidence in Her Majesty's present Government; but he must say that he was much more disposed to vote for their present proposition than that of the hon. Gentleman, which, if carried, must lead to results prejudicial to the security of this country. There were some points in connexion with the naval expenditure in which he did not wholly agree with the Government. For instance, he did not approve of the blockade on the coast of Africa. The cost of that squadron had no doubt been exaggerated; however, there were 25 or 26 ships there, involving an expense of 300,000l. or 400,000l., which he thought might be very well dispensed with. It was pretty well ascertained that the result of all our exertions to stop the slave trade by blockading the coast of Africa was little else than an aggravation of the horrors of the middle passage. When they encouraged slavery by stimulating the cultivation of slave-grown sugar, it was time to put an end to this cruel and costly inconsistency of the blockade of the coast of Africa. He believed that no policy was more characterised by supreme folly, atrocious cruelty, and supereminent breach of public faith, than the course of legislation pursued in reference to the West India colonies. Looking at the present state of Europe and of the world generally, it was most requisite, if we wished to maintain general peace, that we should maintain unimpared the superiority we had received as a heritage from Howe, St. Vincent, Duncan, Collingwood, and Nelson; and the best way of doing so was by agreeing to the Motion of Her Majesty's Government. He sincerely trusted that the hon. Gentleman might be left "in a glorious minority."
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
said: I gave way most willingly to my hon. Friend (Mr. Cumming Bruce); but I hope he and the Committee will pardon me if I ask leave not to follow 809 him into the various topics he Las touched upon. I do not think it would he expedient for me, on the present occasion, to enter on the disputed ground of policy in reference to protection, and, much less, to dilate upon the existing state of parties, or the causes which placed the present Administration in power. Neither will I advert to the debatable question of the policy pursued with reference to the sugar colonies, or those other innumerable topics on which he has dwelt. The hon. Member for Cocker-mouth has asked a question with respect to the application made by Captain Warner to have the merits of his invisible shell and long range investigated before the Committee on the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates. The noble Lord who presides over that Committee is not at present in the House; but the House is well aware that he is never intentionally wanting in courtesy to any one, and I thought that he had already answered Captain Warner's application on behalf of the Committee. However, I can state to the hon. Member for Cockermouth, that inasmuch as the reference made by the House to that Committee is to inquire whether any saving can be effected, without detriment to the public service, in the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates, that Committee, composed principally of laymen, will not think it their duty to investigate the subject of Captain Warner's long range. I should be sorry if the discussion we have now entered upon, which is a discussion of primary importance in a great crisis of public affairs, should degenerate into a question of mere detail. The decision of the House on the present occasion is fraught with great and mighty consequences; and I sincerely hope that no passing considerations of minor importance will betray this Committee into a wrong decision with respect to the vote which we are called on to give this evening. When I came down to the House, I was not at all prepared to be put upon my defence by the hon. Secretary to the Admiralty. I little expected that reference would have been made by him to the conduct of the Naval Administration, during the time I held office in the Admiralty, in 1831, 1832, 1833, and 1834. I thought, on a former occasion, when he said that the naval arsenals were left in an unguarded state at that period, and that this country, on any sudden emergency, might not have been able to maintain her position among the maritime Powers of 810 Europe, and to vindicate her supremacy on the sea, that the hon. Gentleman had given utterance to a hasty expression. The hon. Gentleman has, however, renewed that charge to-night; and he referred to the saving made at the period to which I allude, certainly not in terms of commendation, but, as I thought, in terms of censure and of reprobation. The House will remember that is no new attack upon the Naval Administration of that period. I was First Lord of the Admiralty under Earl Grey's Administration; and at that time—when the facts were fresh in my memory, and when I could refer at once to official documents—charges were preferred against me in this House with great ability by a naval officer of high reputation, the present Earl of Hardwicke, and by an officer of still higher authority. Sir G. Cockburn. I certainly did think at that time that I had disposed of the question in a manner which was perfectly satisfactory. I hoped and believed that my Colleagues, and especially the noble Lord at the head of the present Administration, were satisfied with the vindication I then offered. The very topics to which the Secretary of the Admiralty has adverted—the questions of an insufficient supply of bolts of canvass, and tons of hemp, and other perishable articles—were then matters of charge with respect to the reductions which I had effected. I met those charges at the time, and I certainly thought I had shown that, with respect to all articles of paramount importance, which were absolutely required, we had added to the stores, and had thereby increased the efficiency of the department; and that reductions had been made only with reference to perishable stores, which might readily be supplied by contract in case of any emergency. Since that period I have not paid any scrutinising attention to naval affairs; but I think, with respect to those affairs, that the great difference between prudent parsimony and prodigal expenditure consists in this—that prudent parsimony would provide only those articles which could not easily be obtained in case of emergency; and that prodigal expenditure would—in the apprehension of events which may not occur, and which in the time of a long peace have not occurred—provide perishable articles in an unnecessary quantity. Those perishable articles waste and decay in the lapse of time, and the money expended upon them is absolutely thrown away. I do not, however, wish to pursue this matter further. 811 I might go into details, by which, I have no doubt, I could show, to the satisfaction of the House, as I showed to the satisfaction of a former Parliament, when the facts were recent, that the charge of leaving the dockyards unprovided with the necessary materials was erroneous, and certainly could not be proved or sustained. Allow me to observe, however, that, although this is a peace estimate, the manner in which my hon. Friend moved it was somewhat pugnacious. The hon. Gentlemen who sat behind him appeared to be of that opinion; but I would still hope they are open to conviction, and that even the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), after hearing the debate, will not persist in his Motion. Not satisfied with attacking his hon. Friends behind him, whose opposition Be calculates upon, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ward) also attacked me and the Administration preceding his own, as if we were put upon our defence. Not satisfied, too, with moving the estimates for the present year, the hon. Gentleman has actually gone the length of moving the estimates for the succeeding year. The hon. Gentleman has done me and my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Mr. F. T. Baring) who is associated with me on the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates Committee, a very great service, for he has cut off all necessity for inquiry into the Navy Estimates. He has told us, on the authority of Lord Auckland, the precise limit and amount of saving which can be effected during the ensuing year. He has told us that 600,000l. is the precise amount which may be saved, with a due regard to public safety, in the year 1849–50, and that no greater saving must be expected. Now, these matters of estimate resolve themselves very much into questions of confidence. It is in vain for Committees of this House to attempt to enter into the details of savings in the estimates for public establishments. They may point out, upon imperfect information imperfectly given, the outlines of some savings; but the detail of savings is a matter strictly confined to the province of the Executive Government. It is the first duty of the Executive Government to attend to such subjects; and I am satisfied that, excepting by them, that duty never can be adequately performed. Now, really, if we are to understand that this matter has been looked into narrowly by the Executive Government, and they say that no saving can be effected beyond the amount mentioned by the hon. Gentle- 812 man opposite as likely to be saved in the ensuing year, I must say, that I, for one, should despond of any good consequence whatever resulting from any further investigation of the Naval Estimates by the Committee appointed by this House. But the hon. Gentleman argued, because the Government of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), in 1842, 1844, and 1846, with reference to the circumstances of those particular years, proposed to Parliament a considerable increase of expenditure in the naval department, and obtained their sanction to the proposal, that, as an immediate consequence, the expenditure of the present Administration, with reference to naval affairs, under different circumstances, must necessarily be progressive. The hon. Gentleman asserts, that because the naval expenditure was large two years ago, that, therefore, the expenditure of the present Government must be somewhat larger. Now, allow me to observe, that when the Government of the right hon. Baronet came into office, we found the China war commenced—imperfectly conducted—dragging its slow length along, and not likely to be brought to a speedy conclusion. We took immediate and active measures to bring that war to a termination; and I am happy to say we brought it to a triumphant conclusion; but the war entailed upon the country a great naval effort, and a considerable increase of expense. So much for the estimates for 1842. Then, with regard to 1844, it is now vain to dissemble the fact—it was not dissembled by my right hon. Friend at the time—that a very serious misunderstanding took place between the British and the French Government with respect to Tahiti; and that the Government of this country did think, in the then state of their relations with the Government of France, that an increase of the naval force was indispensable. Then, again, in 1846, were there no circumstances which rendered a very large increase of our naval force, with a view even to the maintenance of peace, politic and necessary? I need hardly remind the House that the last act of my right hon. Friend—indeed, the news arrived the very day upon which he declared the resignation of the Government—was to announce to the House that an amicable adjustment of our differences with America respecting the Oregon territory had taken place—a dispute which had at one time assumed a most hostile aspect, and which fully warranted the Government in taking those 813 preparatory steps which always involve expense. I will only further observe, that the estimates are to be judged by the circumstances of the time, with a due regard to the position of the Government, and with a disposition to accede to all fair and reasonable requisitions. Now, I gladly pass from this part of the question, which, after all, is one of mere detail, to the discussion of matters of much graver importance—to the consideration of the circumstances in which we are now placed. The Government of this country is at the present moment placed in a position of great difficulty—of high responsibility—and in bringing subjects like the present before the House, they are compelled to observe a cautious and a prudent reserve. I feel, Sir, that, upon all occasions, and even under ordinary circumstances, that it is not the duty of the Government of this country, with reference to its safety and to the peace of the world, from time to time, to state all the circumstances which induce them to call for an increased amount of force. In fact, as I said before, properly considered, the vote upon the Navy Estimates resolves itself into a vote of confidence in the existing Administration. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in first introducing this subject, did, I think, in a manly, plain, and intelligible manner, open to this House and to the country the particular circumstances which at the time he made that statement led him to believe that the naval force which he proposed in this estimate was not larger than the safety of the empire and the interests of the country really required. I, as an individual Member of this House, shall exercise the privilege which I think belongs to a Member of Parliament, and shall frankly and without reserve state my opinion upon the circumstances in which we are placed. I conceive that a Continental Power, France for instance, having an extensive and open frontier, is perfectly justified in keeping up a large standing army; for such a force is necessary for the independence and safety of the State it is purely a defensive force, and, therefore, neither Great Britain nor any other country has any reason to complain of it. But, on the other hand, I am bound to say, that great naval preparations on the part of France, she not having many colonies nor an extensive commercial marine scattered throughout the world—that large naval expenditure by her, whether on building ships, or enlarging dockyards, or making breakwaters, or in fit- 814 ting arsenals, or erecting fortresses along the Channel, do not appear so much a defensive policy as an offensive policy, demanding the close and anxious attention of the Executive Government of this country, and I will add, the jealousy—the patriotic jealousy—of the representatives of the people. It cannot be said now, as was said previously to that Unhappy difference between Franco and England upon the Tahiti question to which I already adverted, that a cordial good understanding exists between the people of the two countries—that cordial understanding was then disturbed. unhappy differences of a still more serious character sprung up subsequently upon a transaction to which on the present occasion it would be painful and perhaps ungenerous to advert. At all events, the interruption of that good understanding has increased, I am sorry to say, to something like national hostility. An officer, high in the French service, not long since spoke in a manner which could not be mistaken, of the necessity of an increase in the naval department of the French service; and the French Chamber acquiesced in the demand for an immense increase in the navy estimates, and large naval preparations. The result was, that steamers of war, very powerful and large, were added in great numbers to the French navy; fresh line of battle ships were built, and fortifications were erected; the Channel harbours were ordered to be repaired, forts were garrisoned, at Cherbourg and Dunkirk; and the ports directly opposite to our shores, were put in a state of military readiness; and all those preparations were not made silently and secretly, but they were frequently and almost ostentatiously boasted of. Well, Sir, I must say, that, under such circumstances, the British Government would, in my opinion, have neglected their first duty—would have been guilty in the highest degree of risking the honour, the safety, the independence of this country, if, having witnessed such enormous, such reckless expenditure in France, they had not put the naval armament of England and our shore defences into a suitable state of preparation; and I do not think that such a preparation on the part of England could be justly regarded either in the light of provocation or of hostile rivalry, but simply as a measure of defence and of necessary precaution. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), with great justice and propriety, stated to the House that a new element had arisen 815 since any serious misunderstanding existed between France and this country. I allude, of course, to navigation by steam. Observe, that France had not only prepared an immense number of steam vessels of the largest size, capable of conveying for short distances—certainly across the Channel—a large number of troops, but she had railroad communications between her principal Channel harbours and the interior of the country, while she had a large standing army always at her command—a force which, I have said, would, under ordinary circumstances, be no object of jealousy to this country, as it is to France a shield of defence, as well as a spear of attack. But you must bear in mind that France possesses these great advantages. You must recollect that assailants always possess great advantages in the concentration of their force, and in their power of choosing their opportunity, and that those who have to act on the defensive must be prepared at all times and under all circumstances for resistance. I do say, Sir, that unless Great Britain maintains her lead in naval preparations—unless she stands at the head of the maritime Powers of the world at all times and in every emergency—if she is not, without dispute, the mistress of the British Channel—I say distinctly, advisedly, and with much forethought on the subject, that these intact shores, on which a foreign enemy has never trod, may be exposed at any moment to that most disgraceful and horrid outrage, a national invasion, and the battle of independence will be fought not upon the seas, but upon your own shores—not in the British Channel, but in Kent or Sussex Our naval supremacy should, then, under no circumstances be risked. I think, therefore, that the force proposed by Her Majesty's Government at this time is by no means excessive, and that any diminution of the proposed amount of force would not be consistent with the public safety. I would not now put the Government in the situation to tell you all the reasons why they cannot, consistently with present circumstances, reduce the expenditure required for that force. I beg they may not he dragged into that discussion. Let it not be supposed that anything I have said has been said otherwise than with a desire for peace. My earnest desire and my fervent prayer is, that the peace of the world may be preserved. My belief is that a state of due preparation on our part, and a firm but pacific attitude, even 816 in the last extremity of danger, may go far to secure that object. But I again intreat the Government not to go into explanations upon this subject; not to be dragged into an irritating and imprudent discussion. I do think. Sir, that whatever might have been the feelings of hon. Gentlemen some time back, or their general predisposition in favour of economy, that their sense of patriotism must tell them at the present moment that it would be highly indiscreet to diminish the British Navy—that a desire to maintain our own independence, nay, even to preserve peace, must make them anxious to maintain our Navy in its full efficiency—that Navy which has long made England the arbitress of nations, and to diminish or curtail which would be to paralyse and wither the right arm of our strength. I cannot tell you how deeply, how intensely, I feel upon this subject. I hope there will be no further resistance to these estimates; but if there should, I trust the House will show by a large majority its decided opinion that none of our naval force ought to be disbanded. Something has been said about jobbing, place-hunting, and patronage, as being the cause of the expensive estimates submitted to the House. I believe that there has been nothing like jobbing or place-hunting; but there is a tendency, on the part of every office of every branch of the public departments to wish to have those departments in the highest possible order, with a comparative recklessness of expense. We have now arrived at a point with reference both to revenue and expenditure when such expense must be checked with a firm and determined hand. Now, I am quite prepared to vote for a force of 43,000 men. I decidedly approve of the proposed increase in the marines; I consider it a most judicious step. But I should be sorry, by thus expressing my approval of the number of men voted, to be concluded in the opinion that considerable savings may not be effected in the Navy Estimates. I shall still do my best in the Committee, of which I in common with several hon. Gentlemen, am a member, to point out every saving, not only in the Navy, but in the Army and Ordnance Estimates, which I think, on the principles I have endeavoured to state, can be effected without impairing the real efficiency of any branches of our means of defence. I am more sanguine than my hon. Friend as to the extent of this saving; but I think the Committee will 817 have done their duty when they have sketched the outline of the reduction which in their opinion may safely he effected. I have no doubt the Government are deeply and honestly impressed with the necessity of effecting any reductions which can be made with a due regard to the efficiency of the service, and that they are desirous in this respect to yield to the express wish of the House and of the country. I must say I cannot help thinking, with respect to the distribution of various squadrons, that some saving might be effected without any diminution of our home defence. The hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), if I may be permitted to observe upon what he has stated on another occasion, has dwelt, I think, upon the extent and constant presence of the squadron in the Tagus. Perhaps I may he allowed to state to the Committee what, coming from myself, would be of little value, but, coming from the authority I am about to quote, is really of importance. I well remember Sir Thomas Hardy telling me, as the result of communications between him and Lord Nelson, that the Tagus was to be regarded by this country as the most important naval station in Europe; that for all purposes of general defence a squadron placed in the Tagus is even better placed than at Cork or at Plymouth. It commands the Gut of Gibraltar on the one side; it is open to the Atlantic and the West Indies; it juts finely out as a salient point of departure to all our western possessions on the American shores; with reference to the chops of the Channel, it is most advantageously placed; and, apart from all political considerations, I never can consider a squadron placed in the Tagus except as a squadron immediately available, either for Mediterranean or for Channel service, as the emergency of the occasion may require. Therefore I have no doubt that the Tagus is a great naval position, carefully to be guarded and constantly to be occupied by a British naval force. I may perhaps be permitted to refer to the African squadron, as it has been mentioned by an hon. Member. I believe that that subject is submitted to the consideration of a Select Committee. I cannot help thinking that the decision of Parliament with respect to the policy of the importation of slave-grown sugar is at variance with the maintenance of that squadron in its present force. There are twenty-six ships and 2,700 men now em- 818 ployed on that service. I might also say, and without reference to the policy of this or that Administration, that I cannot help seeing that an enormous expense has been incurred to no useful purpose by the constant presence of a squadron in the Rio de la Plata; a large naval force has been landed there, doing the duty of soldiers, with, I believe, great detriment to naval discipline, and to commercial interests also; and five or six ships of war have been permanently stationed there for the last two or three years. I have glanced at these points; but they are not for this House, or for the Committee, but for the consideration of the Executive Government. I think that savings may be effected in these respects, but not in a day. It requires time. I think in the course of the current year Her Majesty's Government, by looking to the details of the civil service, by passing in review the various stations occupied throughout the world, will find that, without at all endangering our home defence, or our naval superiority, great savings may be effected. But I will detain the Committee no longer. I have said enough. I have, I hope, guarded myself from being supposed to be regardless of public expenditure, or desponding of considerable savings without reducing the efficiency of the service. But with respect to the subject-matter now immediately under discussion, namely, the reduction of the number of seamen and marines, I cannot conscientiously—I cannot without the fear of a pang for the rest of my life—in the present circumstances of this country, consent to the diminution of the number by one single man.
§ MR. WARD
explained that he meant nothing personally offensive or unkind in the allusion he had made to the state of the Navy under Lord Grey's Government to the right hon. Baronet who had just sat down, whom he cordially thanked for the able and impressive speech he had just made to the House. He thought he had guarded himself sufficiently against being understood as wishing in any way to fetter or prescribe the investigation of the Committee which had been appointed by the House.
opposed the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), and thought it would be neither judicious nor desirable to diminish our naval force at the present time.
§ VISCOUNT INGESTRE
said, that connected as he was with the profession which 819 was now under discussion, he begged to say, he was glad to find the tone which the debate had taken. This was not a question on subjects of detail—it was a question of great national policy—the question was, whether they should retain intact the great arm of British power. He would throw out to the Secretary of the Admiralty this advice—not to tamper with the navigation laws. Those laws had promoted the prosperity of our mercantile marine, and the keeping up of the force of the Royal Navy. He concurred in the view taken by the hon. Member for Elgin as to the maintenance of our naval force on the coast of Africa, which he believed to be productive of a great amount of human misery, and which involved a vast outlay of money. Then as to Captain Warner's inventions, he had thought he never should be called upon to refer to it; but when he saw the crisis in which this country was placed, he thought he should be wanting in his duty to his country if he withheld his opinion. He had given the subject his most serious condition, and he solemnly asserted that those inventions, if fostered, might be the means of saving a vast sum of money and of bloodshed to this country. He knew nothing which would so soon stop war as the possession of the secret of these inventions. Why, he would challenge any man to gainsay the fact of the destruction of the ship off Brighton, or that similar results might not be produced against the enemies of this country? The noble Lord read the following letter from Captain Warner to Lord John Russell on the subject of his inventions:—My Lord—I find, from your statement in the House of Commons on the 18th instant, that your Lordship is under some apprehension that this country might be invaded by some foreign Power; your Lordship thinks it advisable to increase the Army and Navy, and to strengthen our fortifications along the whole line of coast. If your Lordship had assented in the last Session of Parliament, to Viscount Ingestre's suggestion, that a Secret Committee should be appointed for the purpose of investigating my discoveries, you would have seen that there would have been no occasion for any further increase or expenditure in the manner now proposed. I am still willing, my Lord, to allow myself to be examined on oath, before a Secret Committee, either in the House of Lords or House of Commons, composed of Members unconnected with cither profession. Such a Committee would be an unprejudiced body, and perfectly competent to form a correct judgment of my inventions, for they would have the power of examining on oath as many professional gentlemen as they might think proper. General Sir Harry Smith, who examined some of my inventions in the presence of several noblemen, acknowledged 820 that they would be a most powerful auxiliary to both the Army and the Navy; and I have the best reason for believing that General Viscount Combermere is of the same opinion. There are, besides, many naval officers, of great experience, who would vouch for the truth of what I have stated above. If your Lordship will comply with my request—and this is my last request—I will undertake to prove to the Committee that there might be a saving made in the Naval Estimates alone of 3,000,000l sterling per annum; that the Navy would be a hundred times more powerful than she is at the present time; and England would be for ever safe against any foreign invasion. Let this, too, be thoroughly understood, that I offer to prove this without fee or reward.He (Lord Ingestre) was perfectly certain that, when perhaps too late, they would find that what he advocated was matter of paramount importance. The noble Lord concluded by condemning the observations which had been made elsewhere by the hon. Member for the West Riding, in allusion to the state of discipline of the Navy at Malta, and defended the service from the imputations which had been cast upon it.
§ MR. COBDEN
Before proceeding to address a few words to the Committee upon the question immediately under its consideration, I must enter my protest against the doctrine advanced by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon—a doctrine which I once heard propounded by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth—namely, that the Executive Government is alone responsible for the estimate and expenditure for the Navy. The Secretary to the Admiralty and others have lately taunted this House with having by large majorities voted increased estimates. When Ministers are called to account respecting the expenditure, they throw the reponsibility back upon the House; but when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon wants to find a sanction for the vote which he is about to give, he throws the responsibility upon Ministers. If the Government is responsible for the expenditure of 7,900,000l. for the Navy, I want to know what we are sent here for? We may as well walk out and shut the door after us. Now, I maintain this principle, that if we vote the money, we, the Members of the House of Commons, are responsible for it, and no other parties. I protest also against another doctrine laid down by the right hon. Baronet, namely, that Ministers may be in possession of reasons for proposing certain estimates, which it may not be fitting to make known and to have canvassed in 821 this House. I deny that. I say that there can he no secrets now-a-days. I repeat that there are no secrets; but if there be any, let us have them. I want to know the reason why the Government calls upon us to vote this money. So far am I from thinking that any advantage is gained by having our international concerns shrouded in the mystery of the Foreign Office, that I believe very great benefit would result from having every such question discussed in this House, before the country, and before the world. Again, I say, that we have no secrets in these times. Every transaction connected with foreign Governments is known to the whole community, through the daily press, before it is known officially to Ministers. But when we have been called upon to vote large sums of money for the Navy on former occasions, Ministers have not failed to offer reasons to the House to justify the course proposed. In 1837, when the great increase in the Navy Estimates commenced, the Secretary of the Admiralty relied upon the alleged extension of the naval force of Russia. The bugbear of that period was that we were going to have an invasion from Russia. We were told that some foggy morning the Russians would land at Yarmouth; but after the money had been voted, nothing more was heard of Russia. In 1840 the increase of the Navy was based upon our diplomatic embarrassments with France, arising out of the miserable Syrian squabble. In 1842 we were called on to increase our naval force on account of the Chinese war. In 1844 another demand was made upon us, in consequence of a wretched diplomatic quarrel about Mr. Pritchard, at Otaheite; and in 1846 the excuse for another increased estimate was the critical state of our relations with America respecting Oregon. Thus it is apparent that reasons have always been given for an increase of the estimates when it has been proposed. I beg to call the attention of the House to this circumstance, that, although the House has been induced thus step by step to augment the estimates, they are never reduced when the alleged causes of the increase have ceased to operate. What reasons can be assigned for sanctioning a greater expenditure on the present than on any former occasion? No one can assert that we have any danger to apprehend. Bear in mind that these estimates were not proposed after the revolution in France was effected. Let us not mystify 822 ourselves upon this point. These estimates were brought forward when Louis Philippe was on the throne of France. At that time we were told that the estimate was necessary on account of the Montpensier marriage, and because a Bourbon Prince had written a foolish pamphlet to show how this country might be invaded. There is no danger of a dynastic quarrel now, and there is as little danger of a Bourbon Prince leading a hostile fleet to invade England; yet, as if to show the public how hollow were the reasons advanced to justify an increased expenditure, now that France is in the agonies of a revolution, and that the people are too much engrossed with their own affairs to be able even to think of invading England, no proposal is made for reducing the estimates. We have, to be sure, been favoured with the usual general arguments for maintaining our armaments; they are the common stock in trade of Secretaries of the Admiralty. In the first place we are told that our Navy is required for the protection and extension of commerce. I must say a few words about this stale pretence of protecting commerce. How does the Navy protect commerce? Commerce consists of the exports of our manufactures and produce. Why are they exported? Because we can sell them cheaper than other countries can produce them. Ships of war have nothing whatever to do with these transactions; and yet we fill the Mediterranean with them, under the pretence of protecting commerce. It may not perhaps be generally known that the greater portion of our exports are sent out to foreign houses. I will some day move for a return, which can be prepared by our consuls abroad without trouble or expense, to show the number of British resident mercantile establishments in all the ports of the Mediterranean as well as of Spain and Portugal. Few as those houses are, they are constantly diminishing in number. I allude, of course, to the diminution in the number of the English merchants, not in the quantity of our exports. By whom are our merchants superseded? By Swiss, German, and Greek merchants living at the ports of the Mediterranean, who receive our exports there and send them into the interior. These merchants are our rivals, without any naval protection Can it be pretended that the enormous naval force we maintain in the Mediterranean is necessary to enable our merchants and manufacturers to send their goods to the ports of that sea? 823 What is commerce to be protected from? Is it against pirates? Why, the extension of steam navigation has done for every coast and island, as regards pirates, what turnpike roads and mail coaches did in England with respect to highwaymen. There is no such thing as a pirate now—[Expressions of dissent]—I mean that there are no pirates now who will attack a square-rigged vessel, though I grant that there may be proahs in the Indian sea which attack and plunder the Malays. But why should we keep up such a force as we have now in the Mediterranean? We have there 8,000 seamen—a force 50 per cent greater than the American navy in time of peace. It is said that the Navy is necessary for the protection of our commercial marine; but the Navy costs more than all the profits which our merchants make; nay, I believe the cost of the Navy exceeds the gross value of the freights carried by that portion of our commercial marine which is engaged in foreign trade. How evidently absurd, then, it is to talk of maintaining the Navy for the protection of commerce! I come now to the political part of the question. The Secretary of the Admiralty says we must keep up our Navy in order to maintain a force bearing relation to the naval power of other countries. There are no countries but France and America with which we can for a moment in this respect be placed in competition. We are told that France is increasing her navy very much. I was sorry to hear the tone in which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon spoke upon this subject. He told us that France was increasing her navy, and made that an excuse for the augmentation of ours. It may be very pleasant for hon. Members to talk here of England at all times maintaining the mastery of the ocean; but we cannot suppose that it is equally agreeable to the French and Americans to hear us boasting of our eternal supremacy. It is not unnatural that those nations should desire to be found not altogether defenceless. I have read in the Moniteur, which is the Hansard of France, the speeches made in the French Chambers upon the question of the increase of the French navy in 1846. The French Government appointed a committee to consider the condition of the navy, and the committee made a report recommending an increase of the navy estimate. When the report came before the Chamber of Deputies, the Ministry, seeing that a majority of the 824 Chamber was bent upon having an increase in the estimate, proposed one greater than the committee had recommended, and even that was augmented by the Chamber, which voted a prospective increase of the estimate to the extent of 93,000,000f. On the 15th of April, 1846, M. Thiers spoke as follows in the Chamber of Deputies:—We pay England the compliment of thinking of her, and her only, when we discuss the question of our navy; we do not trouble ourselves about the fleets which sail out of Trieste or Venice; we think only of the ships which leave Plymouth or Portsmouth. Now, what are the naval forces of England? It is generally said that when she has put forth her greatest strength they have amounted to 100 vessels of the line. If you examine the facts you will find that she has never had 100 vessels out of port; she has had but 80. But on a future occasion I think she would have more—perhaps 100 …. When you speak of 36 ships in the face of 80 or 100 it seems to me a farce. It is true the Minister has raised the proposition to 44, but even he can hardly be serious …. If he had said France will aim at having 60 ships, I should have understood him. I think that with 60 vessels against a nation with 80 or 100, but with a much larger space to cover, it would be possible for us to maintain an honourable struggle.This circumstance is to be remarked as regards all discussions on this subject in the French Chambers—the speakers never presume to speak of equalling the English naval force; all they propose is to keep within a certain distance of us—to bear some proportion to our augmentations. M. Hernoux, on the same occasion, spoke as follows:—In the great lottery of force and of chance, on which side will the advantage rest? On the side of the most numerous. Now, can we pretend to establish a navy as numerous as that of England? If to-morrow we had 100 vessels, the day after England would have 200.I will next direct the attention of the House to what was said by M. de Lamartine. All the speakers, it will be seen, take the English Navy as the standard by which their own ought to be regulated; they indulge in gross exaggerations of our force; but we are equally guilty of exaggerating theirs. M. de Lamartine said—England has not less than 700 vessels of war, with which she could cover the two oceans at the command of her Admiralty. Everybody knows that as respects those steamers, with which we think ourselves sufficiently armed in adding 38 to our 72, England has 500 merchant steamboats which she could, in case of war, arm and let loose upon the ocean …. I confess that to-day, for the first time in my life, I have thought with susceptibility—I had almost said with jealousy—of England. Yes, at the moment when after three days' debate we are coming to this great vote, I say to myself, and I say to my colleagues. 'It is 825 proposed to diminish the budget of the navy, that budget which in all ages has been deemed to belong to the very nature and destinies of France; it is proposed not merely to weaken, but to paralyse the only arm with which we might, perhaps, one day, have to encounter England upon the ocean.'Doubtless, these are great exaggerations; but I cannot avoid observing that no attempt was ever made by a British Minister to disabuse the French mind on these points; instead of that the two nations were allowed to go on increasing their armaments one against the other. M. Ducos, addressing the Chamber of Deputies, said—England, which we may be permitted to view, if not as a model at least as a guide—in spite of the 112 vessels of war of from 70 to 120 guns which she keeps afloat—in spite of the immense development which she has given to her steam navy—England still continues to construct more vessels of the largest dimensions. At this moment she has upon the stocks 13 ships of from 70 to 120 guns, besides a considerable number of frigates calculated to carry a powerful artillery. …. God forbid. Gentlemen, that I should so far allow myself to be led away as to demand from France the sacrifices of men and money necessary for the creation of a fleet equal in force to that of England; I know that we are not, like Great Britain, exclusively a maritime Power; but I think I am within the limits of a wise policy in begging the Chamber not to allow itself to be carried away by prospects which, however pleasing, may be deceptive, and are assuredly very far distant. I entreat it not to reduce the number of our vessels whilst England preserves hers, and even augments the number.It was not unnatural for a French citizen, when he saw us increasing our armaments, to suppose that we meditated a descent upon the coasts of his country. England was not always so pacific as to desire to remain at home. It will he recollected that some years ago the Admiralty adopted the plan of converting four frigates and some line-of-battle ships into steam coastguard vessels. M. le Baron Dupin, in a report from a Committee to the French Chamber of Peers on the Navy, made on the 15th of June, 1846, after giving a detailed account of the plan determined upon by the British Government, for converting four line-of-battle ships and four frigates into steam-ships, carrying 312 guns and bombs of the largest calibre, concludes with the following observations:—If we compare this destructive force with the most formidable batteries ever employed by armies on land to burn fortified towns, or batter down buildings, we shall know what to think of an armament got up under the inoffensive and defensive designation of steam coast-guard vessels. It is for France an indispensable necessity to complete an armament of the same kind, and of equal force, so that we may have nothing to fear 826 for the future, should it so happen that we have a misunderstanding with England.This is all I shall trouble the House with on this subject; but it will he seen that these extracts all have reference to the increase of the English naval force. Now, will it be believed, that after having furnished to France an excuse for increasing her armaments, England makes use of that very increase as a pretence for an augmentation of her own. In the following year, namely, in February, 1847, the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward) come down with his naval estimates; and, after referring to the report of the French Minister of Marine, he stated that the object of France was to increase her ships from 359—the number she possessed in 1846—to 390. On that occasion, he said he found no fault with France for these things—France did what she thought right and necessary for the maintenance of her position. She set us, in many respects, a noble example. He admired the wise and systematic liberality with which her great naval works had been carried on from year to year, till she had compensated herself for the great natural disadvantages under which she laboured along the whole coast of the Channel.He then went into particulars of the magnificent works going on at Dunkirk, Havre, Calais, &c.; described the dockyard at Cherbourg, containing 231 acres and 16 building slips; and quoted the case of Brest, whose smithery contained 127 fires, whilst that at Portsmouth had only 48:—These facts," he added, "it appeared to him, ought to be a lesson to us. They imposed a very heavy responsibility on those who were in power in this country—it behoved them to take care, by the proper development of our resources in times of peace, to prevent the balance of power being changed in time; of war.Now, if there is any proof wanting that it is England which, step by step, has led to the augmentation of the naval forces of other countries, it may be found in one illustrative fact. We all know that some years ago we adopted the plan of subsidising certain private shipbuilders to construct a certain number of steam vessels to run to America and the West Indies, and that, on condition they were made suitable for use in war, we agreed to give towards them a certain amount yearly, in order that we should be enabled to take them into our own hands at a valuation when war arose. [Mr. WARD dissented.] Why, was this plan not followed out in the case of the Cunard line of steamers, which wore, in the way I have described, liable 827 to be taken at a valuation and paid for? And it is well known that since we adopted that plan, France has imitated our example. We know, also, that the American President this Session has recommended the same plan to be followed in America, and has proposed that 200,000 dollars be set apart for that purpose. Does not all this prove that England is the cause of the increase that has been going on in the naval forces of other countries? Ours is the standard to which they look for measuring their military marine. We are playing a costly game, which children might be ashamed of, for want only of a few words of timely explanation. If it were not so serious a matter, one would be tempted to laugh at the folly which presides over the councils of the greatest nations. What would be easier than for the two countries of France and England to arrest each other in this process of augmentation by the one saying, "If you stop, we will stop, as we do not wish to increase our armaments?" And, I would ask, why is this not done? It is, as I believe, because at head-quarters there is no desire to reduce them. Something has been said of the navy of America, and the right hon. Gentleman has spoken of what I shall not wait to controvert, the republican tendency of going to war, though I may observe that America has now existed as an independent State for about sixty-five years, and she has had just four years of war. The United States' navy estimates in 1845, before hostilities began, were 1,200,000l. Now, it must be borne in mind that American commerce bears no insignificant proportion to our own. The amount of their exports last year were about two-thirds of our own; but though they have been at war with Mexico, their estimates for the present year are only 11,000,000l. for the whole expenditure of their army, navy, and ordnance, and all their civil expenditure, including the President's salary and the salary of all other civil officers. This is just two-thirds of our expenditure for the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, in a time of peace. Gentlemen look with apprehension to France; but I look to America as the only country on the face of the earth that is permanently affecting our destinies. It is in America that the great economical rivalry is going on with which we have to contend. A noble Lord opposite (Lord Ingestre) has taunted me with what I said elsewhere regarding our Navy in the Me 828 diterranean. I said that our force lying in the harbour of Valetta, in Malta, was described as "slack;" and in so doing I used a word with which the noble Lord is no doubt familiar. That description is one which is perfectly true. Why, what is the mode of disposing of their time in the Mediterranean? For four, or five, or six months in the year, they lie in the harbour of Valetta. I have been there in the winter time, and seen them in the month of November, and again in the month of March. I have seen there as many as 3,500 seamen; and I was told that the scenes of drunkenness going on were truly frightful. I have seen the Jack tars riding about on asses all the hours of the day, and been nearly ridden over by them myself. I have no wish to speak disrespectfully of these men. I blame not them but the system; but I feel bound to say that there is a greater amount of idleness and domoralisation in consequence of that idleness going on in those ships of war, than in any other similar space, You cannot have 700 or 800 idle men in a ship without their being demoralised. Suppose a factory with 800 hands, and that when they came in to the work they always found the steam-engine stationary, and that the machinery and spindles never moved. How long would it be before these people became demoralised under such a system? As to the occupation of our fleets in the Mediterranean, they are laid up during the winter, as I have described, and in the summer they go round the island of Sicily, perhaps, and spend some time at Athens or Smyrna, and come back again to Valetta, there to lie once more for the winter, the superior officers going, if they can get permission, it may be, to Naples or Sicily, and leaving the lieutenants to employ the men in doing little more than hoisting up the sails and pulling them down again. Indeed, they have the greatest difficulty in keeping them employed. I have told you what is the ordinary routine of your force in that part of the world; and I tell the Gentlemen who oppose me, to contradict the facts if they are able, and to say where our vessels are, for example, from November to January, and where they are in the months of May, June, and July. "But," says the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), "we are opposed by the opinion of Lord Nelson, who held that the Tagus was a capital place for our fleet to lie in." I do not hear it stated, however, that our fleet is or was there because Nelson said it was a good place from 829 which to get to the West Indies, or through the Gut of Gibraltar, but because the Foreign Secretary thought it would be more at the command of the Court of Lisbon. Accordingly, there they are, lying in the Tagus; and I will ask, can anything be more demoralising than that so many men should be kept for so long a time in such a climate and in such a state of society? Those who have been in Lisbon will admit that it is not the purest of all spots for 4,000 or 5,000 men to be living idly in. I have seen it stated, and indeed it is a current joke, that one of these line-of-battle ships had been lying so long in the Tagus, that it ultimately went aground on the beef bones thrown over the side. Now, I say we have no right to tax the artisans and people of this country—the people who consume your sugar, and your coffee, and your tea—to send a fleet larger in force than the whole American navy, to lie for a year in the Tagus at the disposal of the Court of Portugal, and doing harm instead of good. The greater part of that squadron has now, I believe, been ordered off. I do not know if the broadside lately given at Manchester had anything to do with the proposed dispersing of that armament in Portugal, but it has been ordered to disappear very suddenly; and I will just ask if this does not afford a proof that we have more men than we require when we can dispense with that fleet in Portugal? I come now to the question as to the amount which you are requested to vote for our naval expenditure. And here let me say, that I believe the Government, in proposing this vote, is not more to blame than are the electors of the country. I look with a very candid eye to this question. I was the first to raise a cry four months ago on the subject, and I found myself censured on all hands. I will do Ministers the justice to say that I was censured on all hands in the newspaper press, and among public men, who I thought sympathised with the views I generally held. They did not, however, sympathise with me in this matter; but when the Ministers brought in the Bill for an increase of our armaments, in the shape of an increase of the income-tax, then they turned round and denounced them as a profligate Ministry. Now, I think the Ministry have been ill-used in this respect; but I take no blame to myself. When the Navy was at its lowest, in 1835, I began my public career by writing pamphlets to show how unnecessary the expense then incurred was; and I 830 have maintained the same doctrine since. But we now come to the question, how shall we raise this money? You proposed, in the first instance, to raise it by an increased income-tax. Now, I will frankly say to the country, and will not flatter anybody on such a subject, that if the expenditure is increased and the money must be had, I will vote for its being paid by the men who have incomes of 150l. rather than consent to its being raised by the working classes. I believe the mass of the people have no fear of any invasion—they laugh at the idea of such a thing. Your peasant working at his plough, and your weaver at his loom, have no fear of it. It is the other classes who are always asking for this increased protection; and if they want it they must pay for it. What a lesson is now being read to us all over Europe! Every day the post brings accounts of the march of revolution; and what is the primary cause of this? No doubt the burdens of the people. The primary cause is the suffering of the people. It would have been better if they had had the reasoning power to avert the burden in another way rather than be led to revolution; but there is no doubt that the great cause has been the heavy expenditure, particularly for the Army, Navy, and Ordnance. Mr. C. Sumner, of the United "States, has published a work to prove that the standing armaments of Europe cost 200,000,000l. a year, and that they withdraw upwards of 2,000,000 in the flower of manhood from industrious occupations. He estimates, also, their labour at 50,000,000l. more, making a total loss of 250,000,000l. to Europe. Could anything but disaster and suffering flow from such a state of things? Looking at the middle ages we find the monastic system then in full operation—great numbers were shut up in cloisters; and much of the distress which fell on the people we attribute to such a state of society. But I wish to know the difference between keeping 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 of people in black cloaks in idleness in convents, and keeping 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 in red coats in barracks. In either case they must be supported. And I am anxious that in this country we should take the matter in hand in time. I believe our greatest danger is to be apprehended from financial difficulties. You talk of borrowing from the balances in hand. They must go to borrow from the Bank. Then the Bank, in distress, is obliged to press upon the 831 commercial interest. Most of our panics, I believe, have arisen from the illicit commerce between the Bank and the Government. You are in danger of a bad harvest. That is always on the cards. Your danger from foreign invasion is nothing as compared with the danger from your own finances. The danger is not from a falling-off of revenue, but from your inordinate expenditure. I wish hon. Gentlemen, when they brace up their courage against foreign foes, would at the same time have courage to face their own difficulties. I have no fear of invasion. Nobody, I believe, thinks of molesting us. If we can only increase the number of prosperous people, and diminish the number of paupers, and, at the same time, of sailors, you will be stronger than you are by your present course in augmenting your armaments at the expense of the prosperity, ease, and comfort of the mass of the population.
I think it my duty publicly to contradict the statement made by the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire with respect to the discipline of the Navy. I have a letter from Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, in which he refers to a statement attributed by the hon. Gentleman to the American Consul at Malta. Sir William Parker says, "The American Consul has written to me to say that he has not seen Mr. Cobden at Malta for ten years." Sir William Parker is perfectly at a loss to name what ship the hon. Gentleman complained of as lying at Malta during his cruise to Naples and back again. I am confident there are not ten men in this House who believe what was said by the hon. Gentleman of the discipline of the Navy to be a correct representation.
§ MR. COBDEN
The gallant Admiral tells you what is perfectly true, that it is ten years since I was in Malta. It is perfectly ridiculous for a man so notorious in his movements as I have been to think of mis-stating the time when I visited Malta or any other place. Why, I believe, that in every town I was at I was chronicled in the newspapers. But I was at Malta in the winter of 1836 and spring of 1837. Don't tell me of the characters of gallant admirals. They are all admirable. But I ask whether my facts are correct? The American Consul will not deny that he went in the same steamer with me from Malta to Gibraltar; that we were four days in the same vessel. We hear too much in 832 this House of the conduct and character of this gallant service. I look on the service as a profession. They don't work for nothing—for we are talking of an estimate of 7,000,000l.—I look on its members as on the members of any other profession—a barrister or physician. As they are in the service of the country, you have a right to criticise their movements as you have those of others. It will save future discussions if I let hon. and gallant Members know how I appreciate them. If they set themselves up as the service, par excellence, and think they are to be free from all remark, I have only to say that I hold a different opinion.
would only observe that his attention having been attracted to the statement made by the hon. Member for the West Riding, he knew that a ship of war could not have remained so long at Malta as the hon. Member asserted. He took the trouble of making an extract from the speech of the hon. Member, delivered on the 27th January of this year, and the words were as follows:—I was at Malta at the commencement of the winter, in November. A ship anchored there from Portsmouth, whilst I was there, with a thousand hands on board. I went thence to Egypt and Greece, and on my return to Malta there she was still—her captain had gone ashore to live at the clubs, and the lieutenants found the utmost difficulty in finding anything to do. It was lamentable to see the shifts they were put to—letting loose the sails, hoisting them up again, and scrubbing the decks, till one would think they'd scrub holes in them. I was introduced to the American Consul when I was at Malta, and we conversed very freely upon the subject, he said, 'I consider your Navy very slack.' 'Slack,' I said, 'what do you mean by slack?' 'Oh, he replied,' too idle; they can't be in good order if they are allowed to be idle in this way three or four months at a time. We have three ships in the Mediterranean, but my instructions are never to let them come into port at all. There they are—up one side, down the other—always in motion.' The consequence is, that the American ships are in a far better state of discipline and equipment than the English ships are.Now this American Consul wrote to Sir William Parker to say that he had had no communication with the hon. Member for ten years. If the hon. Member for the West Biding had candidly said, in the first instance, that it was ten years ago when he met the American Consul, there would have been no misunderstanding; but he had not done so. It was not to be supposed that the remarkable assertion of the hon. Member could pass without observation. He had himself proposed in that House that the log of the ship alluded 833 to should be sent home to this country, and the Admiral reprimanded for keeping her so long stationary. But the hon. Member had not said a word about its being ten years ago. He had talked of the orange groves at Lisbon in the month of January, and the skulking hole at Malta, and had abused the Navy accordingly upon that text.
§ COLONEL TYNTE
could not remain silent, because he thought the British Navy had been maligned by the statements of the hon. Member for the West Riding. He had just seen a relative of his who had arrived from Lisbon last night, and who had been on board these greatly calumniated vessels in the Tagus. It was well known that British sailors never complained of doing their duty, but his relative stated that they were kept in constant exercise every way; they were never idle, and the squadron of Admiral Napier was remarkable for the dexterity in exercise and efficiency of the ships. He must say, this was not exactly the time to reduce the British Navy. Had not the hon. Member seen the statements as to the naval armaments of France? Had he not seen the circular from the French Minister of War, which declared, although there is every reason to hope that the friendly relations between France and foreign Powers will not be disturbed, measures have been taken for concentrating towards the frontiers a considerable number of troops, sufficent for every contingency; and that every regiment of infantry would be augmented by one company; thus providing for an enormous augmentation of the military forces of France.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said: Sir, I do not rise to defend the British Navy: "the blood of Douglas can protect itself." The high character which the British Navy has acquired, and the brilliant discipline for which it is perhaps more remarkable now than at any former period, will secure it the admiration and respect of all, even though their acquaintance with it may not be ten years old, and whose memory, therefore, need not deceive them as to what they have seen or done during that long period. With respect to the question more immediately under our consideration, I shall not go over the ground which has been so ably trodden by those who have preceded me on both sides of the House, as to the reasons which have led to that progressive augmentation of the charge of the Navy which has been observed upon by 834 those who have found fault with the present vote. It has been sufficiently explained that that progressive increase has arisen partly from the necessity of supplying stores which had been consumed in the annual expenditure of the service without any corresponding augmentation having been from time to time made, and partly from that great and extraordinary change which the introduction of the use of steam in the propulsion of vessels has necessarily made in the construction and equipment of a portion of our maritime force. Sir, that increase, whatever it may be, is not greater than the increase which was made during the corresponding period in the expense of the navy of France. And when I am told that we are not to look to what other nations have done in regard to their naval establishments, the answer is given by the hon. Member who has just spoken, who has repeated to us the statements upon which the preparations made by the Government of France for the augmentation of their naval and military forces are founded. I happened to be present at those very debates in the French Chambers from which the hon. Member for the West Riding read extracts; but the plain dictates of common sense, by which all nations must govern their conduct, is, that they must proportion their defensive means even in times of peace, in some degree at least, to the state of preparation in which other nations may be with whom they may by possibility, in given and contingent events, be drawn into a war. There is nothing offensive in that mode of proportioning one's state of preparation; there was nothing offensive when the French Chambers made the state of the British Navy the measure by which they were to proportion the extent of their own naval means; there can be no indication of any aggressive or offensive intention on the part of England, when we consider that we are to proportion the amount of our naval resources to those which other great naval Powers may possess; such Powers, I mean, as the United States, France, and Russia. I apprehend it has been shown that neither in the amount of stores, nor in the number of our sailing ships or steam ships of war, have we gone beyond that which a mere prudent regard to our own requirements and the necessities of the service may point out. It has been well observed that in defending the proposed amount, we are not to rest our arguments entirely on the 835 existing state of things, which has arisen since the estimates were presented to the House. I am perfectly willing to admit the force of that assertion; but when we are asked why it is that our extended commerce requires increased means of naval protection, I must protest against the manner in which the hon. Member for the West Riding has endeavoured to represent the subject; that our commerce finds no protection from the Navy, and that it would go on just as well without any naval protection whatever. Year by year our merchants are seeking for new markets; year by year we are not only pushing our commerce into fresh markets, but with our commerce follow our British residents. There is hardly a place of any commerce in the world in which progressively British subjects do not establish themselves; and, wherever they do establish themselves, they are perpetually, according to the varying circumstances in which they are placed, calling for the protection of our naval forces. Hardly a post comes that does not bring me, from some portion or other of the globe, complaints of British merchants, who state that for months and months they have not seen a British cruiser—that they are forgotten and neglected by their Government—and that they require the protection or occasional presence of the British flag. It is not from pirates that our merchants require to be protected, nor is it from any actual hostilities; but we all know that in countries where Governments are unstable or weak, there is a perpetual disposition in local authorities to misuse their power, and act offensively or unjustly towards foreign merchants, and especially our British merchants, who, having larger concerns, are considered a rich and easy prey. In this manner it constantly happens that the presence of a British cruiser is necessary either to protect our merchants from oppression, or to obtain for them reparation when injustice or oppression have been committed. It is, therefore, not merely from the extent of our colonial possessions, but from the annual increase of our trade, that additional naval protection is required in almost every part of the world. But the argument of the hon. Member for the West Riding would go to show that we might dispense altogether, not only with our Navy, but with our Army, and even the police we see in the streets. He says, what is the use of our ships of war? They lie in harbour, and do no- 836 thing; officers are puzzled what to do with their men; they hoist their sails at one moment and lower them at another; they scrub the decks and clean them; and of what use are they? If the hon. Member had exercised his ingenuity further, he might have given us a similar picture of English soldiers in their barracks. If it be a good argument, that because ships of war are not always employed in hostile operations, therefore they are of no use, by the same reasoning you might prove you have no use for any troops, because they are employed merely attending parades, in cleaning their accoutrements, keeping their arms in good order, and marching about under the leading of drill sergeants. In the same manner he might say, what is the use of all those men in blue coats, whom I see all day lounging about the streets with their hands in their button holes, who seem to have no earthly occupation but to stare decent people out of countenance, and watch everybody who stops for a moment to look in at shop windows? When the hon. Gentleman talks of childish arguments and puerile reasonings, I must say I think the line of argument by which he has endeavoured to show that a navy in time of peace is of no use, is not likely to have much weight either in this House or with any reasonable man in the country. But the hon. Member calls as judges of his argument, not men who turn their minds to the condition of the country—not men informed by knowledge, or who have enjoyed the benefits of sound instruction, which would enable them to judge of these matters—he calls on the ploughman and the weaver. He says, forsooth, there is no real danger of invasion, because there is not a ploughman who thinks it possible; and the weaver at the loom is unconscious of any danger which can interrupt the pursuit of his vocation. I must say, I do not appeal to that tribunal; and cannot say, because ploughmen and weavers do not believe invasion possible, that, therefore, we are to strip the country of all the defence which an army and navy constitute, and that we are to rest in security on the vaunted protection which the all-potent doctrines of free trade may afford us. Sir, those doctrines I have often myself praised as doctrines tending to peace, and which give to peace additional guarantees; but they are not doctrines whose influence and effect can be safely substituted for the more material and physical protection derived from the thews and sinews of our brave 837 soldiers and daring seamen. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripen (Sir J. Graham) has adverted in terms highly becoming, impressive, and deserving the attention of the House, to the state in which Europe now finds herself. The right hon. Baronet has said, he trusts no Member of the Government, in addressing the House upon this subject, will depart from that reserve which is becoming his official position. The hon. Member for the West Riding, on the contrary, exhorts us to speak openly of every matter of policy; to have no secrets—I think he said—which it may be interesting for the House or the country to know. We have no secrets of State; it is not in days like these that rational persons can expect to meet with them. It is not upon matters which are secret that we wish to rest our proposition, but upon grave considerations affecting the present state of public affairs. The things that are passing in the world are notorious to all mankind; and if any reasonable or reflecting man in this House would have thought, a month or six weeks ago, that the force we were proposing to Parliament was greater than the ordinary exigencies of our situation required; yet, surely, in the general state of affairs—after events which I trust may not prove to be of the character they assume to the apprehensions of some men, but still with a future before us big with uncertainty—however we may hope or wish that it may eventuate in peace, he would no longer deem our proposition extravagant. I can assure the House, that, whatever influence the Government of this country may be able to exert, that influence will be exerted most urgently and impartially in endeavouring to inculcate the doctrines of peace upon all who may be disposed to listen to our advice. But if any man wishes that the voice of this country should carry with it due weight, then this country ought to be in a condition independent of any fear or alarm. It is not for a country that is weak or powerless to expect that any other Government or nation will listen to its appeal for peace. You must show that you are not seeking for peace out of timidity or fear—you must be able to show, that if you seek peace—if you counsel peace—it is because you think it consonant with the interest, the advantage, the well-being of all countries. It must be from your love of peace itself, and not from any fear of consequences to yourselves that you must argue, if you wish your counsels to be at- 838 tended by successful results. I can assure the House that not only is it the anxious desire of Her Majesty's Government that this country should continue to enjoy the inestimable blessings of peace, but it will be no fault of ours, so far as we may offer counsel or advice to others, if England should be involved in the calamities of war. No man in these days can venture to play the part of a prophet; events have followed each other with such wonderful rapidity, that one can hardly venture to anticipate the results of the ensuing week; but, at least, I am sure the House will not think this a moment at which they can divest the Government of England of those means which we proposed at the beginning of this Session to place at the disposal of the country.
§ CAPTAIN HARRIS
said, the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire had been set forth in a supposed Ministerial programme, which had been published in one of the periodicals of this country, as the First Lord of the Admiralty. The hon. Member had been called by a variety of designations, such as "free-trade philosopher," and such like; but there was one title which had not been given him, and that was, "the libeller of the Duke of Wellington," and bethought no Member of that House could be supposed as expressing the feelings of a people—of a country—which that illustrious man had saved, and whose services were appreciated by that people, when he traduced such a character. The hon. Member's attacks on the Navy had been already so well answered by the First Naval Lord of the Admiralty and hon. Friends at his own side of the House, that it was unnecessary for him to refer to them.
§ MR. BRIGHT
had listened to the speech of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary, and as the noble Lord spoke, the impression crossed his mind that it was very much like the sort of speech that had been delivered by noble Lords and hon. Gentleman holding that office in that House for the last sixty years. He wished to recall the attention of the House to what really was under its consideration, namely, to say whether they were now to vote this enormous sum without reduction; and in point of fact, whether that Committee was to give its sanction to a policy that had been followed for so many years, of perpetually increasing the military expenditure of the country. Now, what was that expenditure at present? All that was paid 839 for the debt, and all that was now paid for the Navy, Army, and Ordnance, was an expenditure which had arisen from the warlike propensities which had been so much gratified by Executive Governments, and by the people of this country in past times. That formed almost the whole of the expenditure of this great empire. No less than 47 millions annually were paid, either for wars that had already passed, or in preparation seemingly for wars that were expected. The noble Lord inquired how this country could expect to have any influence with foreign countries, unless she were in a powerful position with respect to her military armaments? Why, there were two answers to that question: first of all, the noble Lord did not consult the true interests of this country if he thought it his duty to hold the balance of power and interfere with the arrangements of Continental States; and the other answer was this—the United States of America were powerful and independent, or they were not. Had not the United States obtained from France, within a few years, the restoration of rights and payments which France for a long time had refused? Did not the United States obtain from this country a settlement of the Maine boundary question and the Oregon question? and yet the United States had an army and navy, or had, until hostilities broke out with Mexico, which were quite ridiculous in amount when compared with the enormous armaments of this country. But there was one point to which the noble Lord had not turned the attention of the House, and he believed that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty had been equally unmindful of it. He asked where the money was to come from? True, it was argued at the table of that House, that because certain information had been received as to foreign affairs—because France or any other country was increasing its armaments, therefore our armaments should be increased. But there was a limit which they were approaching, and which, if they passed, they would bring on themselves unfortunately more mischief from the internal condition of the country, than they had any reason whatever to expect from any increase of foreign armaments as compared with our own. Let them observe the discontent that had existed in the country for the last three mouths, since the estimates had been proposed by the Government, and since the proposed increased taxation. The 840 people of this country, unfortunately, were not half alive to the monstrous extravagance which Government entered into. They were not half alive to the necessity of resisting, by all constitutional means, incessant additions to our taxation. It was not because the Government asked for an estimate of 500,000l. more than last year—nor because they asked for 2 per cent addition to the income-tax, that discontent had arisen against the Government, and which had not existed, in the same degree, he would venture to say, against any other Government for a very long period of years. It was because the people were suffering, their means exhausted, and their industry paralysed, and because from the highest almost to the lowest class there was difficulty and general suffering. The noble Lord and the Secretary to the Admiralty might preach from the table of that House; but they would not avoid some of those troubles that had visited foreign countries from extravagance and improvidence on the part of Governments. He would ask the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs whether he had ever sent an Ambassador—whether he had ever sent an Envoy Extraordinary or Minister Plenipotentiary to any foreign State whatever, with a direct and tangible proposition to persuade that Government along with our Government to a material and instant reduction of the burdensome military expenditure? No, nothing of that kind had been done in any honest or earnest spirit yet. There could be no doubt that France, and Russia, and Prussia, and Austria, like this country, were actually sighing for a diminution of expenditure, and for some relief from the almost intolerable burden. But if the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs looked more to the advantage of the country than to the exaltation of his office—he did not blame the noble Lord as being worse in that respect than those who had preceded him; but he could imagine the noble Lord entering into a correspondence with intelligent Ministers in foreign countries for the purpose of bringing about such reduction of expenditure as that to which he had alluded, and such as this country would enforce before any very long period. He would be sorry to say a word that would be annoying to a single Member in that House; but when he remembered that there were about 150 Members who were themselves directly engaged in that military expenditure—who were en- 841 gaged either in the Army or Navy; he was not surprised at all, notwithstanding that they repudiated any matter of money in connexion with the service—he was not surprised that they should oppose those things of which he had spoken, and that what he was saying should be unpalatable. That House represented the people of England; and if they held the purse-strings of that enormous taxation which was extracted from the industry of the people of this country—and he knew no more solemn and no more onerous duty that could devolve on any Member of that House—he then protested against an expenditure which he believed to be excessive, and an expenditure which was creating the deepest discontent through all classes of the industrious people of the kingdom.
MR. HENRY DRUMMOND
Hon. Members may rest assured that I shall not occupy the time of the Committee but for a very few minutes, because I am perfectly aware of the indecency of any person rising after a Minister of the Crown has concluded the debate. Such at least was the practice when I was a Member of the House before. When I hear a great number of Gentlemen belonging to a profession, of which I myself am not a member, charged with selling the interest of their country, for their own personal aggrandisement, I must rise up to say, that you are upon the very verge of carrying into your military condition, and into the very existence of the country, the principles of the very same school which has ruined you in every other way. Now, other occasions will arise, and I am determined to trace through their whole ramifications the doctrines of that school. You have been taught to consider the interests of the master cotton spinners as identical with the interests of England. For this you sacrificed the interests of the cotton operative; for this you sacrificed every other interest in the country; for this you sacrificed the colonies; and those Gentlemen not content with these, do now come forward with most inordinate presumption, and sneer at Ministers, because forsooth they hold the doctrine that every Minister of State has ever held concerning every country in the world which a Minister of State was ever called upon to guide, and they require us to put away all those maxims and that policy which all former years and all countries have shown to be the maxims and the policy of common sense, Why, according to 842 these Gentlemen, if Cain had only been a cotton spinner, he would never have thought of knocking his brother Abel on the head. But, Sir, other opportunities will occur for me to enter more at large into these subjects; I shall therefore conclude by saying, that I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Montrose in the distrust I entertain for all Ministries. I say with him, but in the language of a greater man than either of us, that "confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged breast." I confess I mistrust all Ministries—most of all do I mistrust a Government composed of poets and astronomers—a Government which calls to its aid the very last counsellors I should ever consult—counsellors, nevertheless, which have been recommended by the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire to my noble Friend—consisting of a body of 900 illiterate paupers. I mistrust not the men, but I mistrust their power to rule. I mistrust the fact that they have any power at all. I certainly do not believe that you are in any danger of foreign invasion so long as you show that you have power and determination to resist it, but not one minute longer. I certainly do anticipate many things which I will not speak of now; but I do conjure this House not to believe for an instant that these naval and military establishments are kept up merely for the sake of the genteel classes, as it has been said, but to mistrust all counsel of that kind, and coming from that quarter, for of this the House may rest well assured, that the Throne cannot stand upon cotton, nor can the Queen sit on a "spinning jenny."
§ SIR H. VERNEY
protested against the insinuation made by Mr. Smith O'Brien in Ireland, that if orders to fire upon the people were given, the soldiers would fire upon the officer who gave the word of command. He believed that there never was a more loyal body than the British Army of the present day, and there were none more ready to do their duty than the Irish Roman Catholics in the service. With regard to the advice given by the hon. Member for the West Riding to withdraw the ships from foreign stations, he believed there was not a British merchant who would not rise up and protest against his doctrine, for they all felt that the safety of their commerce depended upon the protection afforded by the Navy of this country.
§ MR. HUME
replied, and denied that the object of his Motion was, as many hon. Members had assumed it to be, to destroy 843 the Navy. He had merely proposed to fix it at 36,000 men, which was the greatest number that had ever existed from 1816 to 1844. Had anything occurred to render a greater number of men necessary now than there was during that period? All he proposed was to disband the squadron on the African coast and that in the River Plate, both of which were worse than useless, and to leave every other ship untouched.
§ On the question that the number of men be 36,000,
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 38; Noes 347: Majority 309.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Pearson, C.|
|Alcock, T.||Pilkington, J.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Raphael, A.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Salway, Col.|
|Bright, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Smith, J. B.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Sullivan, M.|
|Duncan, G.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Fagan, W.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Gardner, R.||Thompson, Col.|
|Greene, J.||Thompson, G.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Thornely, T.|
|Henry, A.||Urquhart, D.|
|Hindley, C.||Wakley, T.|
|Kershaw, J.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Williams, J.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Hume, J.|
|Mowatt, F.||Cobden, R.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Abdy, T. N.||Berkeley, hon. H. F.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Birch, Sir T. B.|
|Adair, H. E.||Blackstone, W. S.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Boldero, H. G.|
|Alexander, N.||Bolling, W.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Bourke, R. S.|
|Anson, Visct.||Bowles, Adm.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Boyle, hon. Col.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Brackley, Visct.|
|Arkwright, G.||Bramston, T. W.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Brand, T.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Bremridge, R.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Briscoe, M.|
|Ashley, Lord||Brockman, E. D.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Brooke, Lord|
|Bailey, J., jun.||Brooke, Sir A. B.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Bruce, C L. C.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Buck, L. W.|
|Barkly, H.||Buller, Sir J. Y.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Bunbury, E. H.|
|Baring, T.||Burghley, Lord|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Busfeild, W.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Cabbell, B. B.|
|Bateson, T.||Campbell, hon. W. F.|
|Beckett, W.||Carew, W. H. P.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Carter, J. B.|
|Benbow, J.||Castlereagh, Visct.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Cavendish, hon. C. C.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Cavendish, hon. G. H.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Freestun, Col.|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Galway, Visct.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Childers, J. W.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Christy, S.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Clay, J.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Goring, C.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Greenall, G.|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Greene, T.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Coles, H. B.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Grey, R. W.|
|Compton, H. C.||Grogan, E.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Haggitt, F. R.|
|Cotton, hon. W. H. S.||Hallyburton, Lord J. F.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Craig, W. G.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Cripps, W.||Hastie, A.|
|Currie, H.||Hawes, B.|
|Currie, R.||Hay, Lord J.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Deering, J.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Denison, W. J.||Heald, J.|
|Disraeli, B.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Dod, J. W.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Dodd, G.||Henley, J. W.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Douro, Marq. of||Heyvrood, J.|
|Drummond, H.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Drummond, H. H.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Hodges, T. T.|
|Duff, G. S.||Hood, Sir A.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Hope, H. T.|
|Duncuft, J.||Hornby, J.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Horsman, E.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Hotham, Lord|
|Dundas, G.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Dunne, F. P.||Howard, hon. E. G. G.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Hudson, G.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Hutt, W.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Edwards, H.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Ellice, rt. hon. E.||Jervis, J.|
|Ellice, E.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Evans, W.||Jones, Sir W.|
|Farrer, J.||Jones, Capt.|
|Fellowes, E.||Keppel, hon. G. T.|
|Fergus, J.||Ker, R.|
|Ferguson, Col.||Knox, Col.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Langsten, J. H.|
|FitzPatrick, rt hon. J.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.||Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.|
|Floyer, J.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Forbes, W.||Lindsey, hon. Col.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Loch, J.|
|Fortescue, C.||Locke, J.|
|Fortescue, hon. J. W.||Long, W.|
|Fox, R. M.||Lowther, H.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Macnamara, Major||Sandars, G.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Scott, hon. F.|
|M'Naghten, Sir E.||Scrope, G. P.|
|M'Taggart, Sir J.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Magan, W. H.||Seymour, Sir H.|
|Manon, The O'Gorman||Seymour, Lord|
|Maitland, T.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Manners, Lord G.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|March, Earl of||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Marshall, W.||Simeon, J.|
|Martin, C. W.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Masterman, J.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Matheson, A.||Smith, J. A.|
|Matheson, J.||Smith, M. T.|
|Matheson, Col.||Smyth, J. G.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Smollett, A.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. P.||Somers, J. P.|
|Melgnnd, Visct.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Meux, Sir H.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Miles, P. W. S.||Spooner, R.|
|Miles, W.||Stafford, A.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Moffatt, G.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Monsell, W.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Moody, C. A.||Stephenson, R.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Morison, Gen.||Stuart, H.|
|Morris, D.||Stuart, J.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Sturt, H. G.|
|Mure, Col.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Napier, J.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Noel, hon. G. J.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Nugent, Sir P.||Tollemache, J.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Townley, R. G.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Oswald, A.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Packe, C. W.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Turner, E.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Turner, G. J.|
|Paget, Lord G.||Tynte, Col. C. J. K.|
|Palmer, R.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Palmer, R.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Parker, J.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Patten, J. W.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Pennant, hon. Col.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Perfect, R.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Peto, S. M.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Philips, Sir G. R.||Ward, H. G.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Power, N.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Pusey, P.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Rawdon, Col.||West, F. R.|
|Rendlesham, Lord||Westhead, J. P.|
|Renton, J. C.||Willcox, B. M'G.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Reynolds, J.||Wilson, J.|
|Ricardo, O.||Wilson, M.|
|Rice, E. R.||Wood, rt hon. Sir C.|
|Rich, H.||Wood, W. P.|
|Richards, R.||Worcester, Marq. of|
|Romilly, J.||Wyld, J.|
|Rushout, Capt.||Wyvill, M.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Yorke, H. G. R.|
|Russell, hon. E. S.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||TELLERS.|
|Rutherfurd, A.||Tufnell, H.|
|Sadleir, J.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ Original Motion agreed to. House resumed. Chairman reported progress.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past One o'clock.