HC Deb 11 March 1875 vol 222 cc1634-78

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) 60,000 Men and Boys, including 14,000 Royal Marines.


said, it was customary in moving the first Vote for the Minister occupying the position he had the honour to fill to enter upon a general review of the Estimates and the naval policy of the year. On the present occasion, before entering upon any question of figures, it might be interesting to the Committee that he should glance at a few questions affecting naval services during the past year, together with changes that had been made and others that were in contemplation.

The first matter he would bring under the notice of the Committee was a very gratifying movement which had emanated spontaneously from the crews of several ships in commission, and which, while unexpected by the Government, would probably be surprising to the Committee. It was a proposal made by the crews of a considerable number of ships, and also by the Marines, to establish a fund, by means of stoppages from their own pay, for the benefit of their widows and children. It was well known that British seamen and Marines possessed many noble qualities; but they had always had the character of being a thriftless sort of men, and it was exceedingly gratifying to find that habits of forethought and providence had taken root in their minds, and that they had come forward to make this proposition. They had applied to the Admiralty for assistance in carrying out their wishes in the matter, and he need scarcely say that the Admiralty had, with the utmost alacrity, done their best to fall in with their views. It was impossible, however, for the authorities to decide as to the best course to be adopted without knowing how much the men were willing to contribute. He had, therefore, caused a Circular to be issued to the Fleet on the subject. The whole of the replies had not yet been received; but when they had all come to hand, they would doubtless furnish the material for actuarial calculations as to the kind of provision it would be possible to make. It was hoped that if sufficient funds could be contributed the wishes of the men could be carried out with the as sistance, in a business point of view, of the Patriotic Fund Commissioners.

The next subject upon which he wished to touch was the patronage promotions. It had been decided within the last few months that hauling down promotions and promotions on death vacancies should cease. Where the numbers in each rank were limited as at present it was impossible that this system of promotion could continue without prejudice to the service. Supposing the choice of officers for flag-lieutenants was exercised in favour of the young men most distinguished by their talents, it would be an advantage to the Service that they should gain rapid promotion and so get into the upper ranks in an active period of life; but there was no security that the choice would be regulated upon this principle instead of upon motives of friendship and ties of kinship. In consideration of this fact and of the very limited promotion at the disposal of the Admiralty, it was thought right that this kind of patronage should be abolished.

One of the most important questions that had come before him since he went to the Admiralty had been the primary education of naval officers in the duties of their profession while they were in the cadet stage. He appointed a Committee to inquire into the question of the training given on board the Britannia, opinions having got abroad that the conditions of life on ship-board were not those best suited to boys of the age of naval cadets. The Committee which he appointed consisted of naval officers, medical men, and distinguished University men, and they reported unanimously as follows:— As the result of the most careful consideration of this important question, we are led to the opinion that it would be desirable to substitute for the two years' course on board the Britannia a three years' course at a College on shore, broken by two summer cruises in sea-going training-ships. One reason for this proposal is the doubt whether it is possible in two years, without undue mental strain, to pass the cadets through a course of training adequate to their future position as officers and as gentlemen. Another and broader reason is that we are convinced that a man-of-war, to whatever excellence she may be brought as a place of residence, is not and cannot be made a desirable place of education. The necessary presence of naval discipline is, in our opinion, antagonistic to the work of the schoolmaster. He was led very much to the same conclusion by a visit which he paid to the Britannia. What with the discipline enforced on board, and the time taken up with studies, it seemed to him that, with the exception of the time allowed for them to go ashore, the boys were kept on the stretch from the time they got up until the time they went to bed, and that they had none of that relaxation between the hours of labour that was essential. He had therefore to inform hon. Members that the Government had determined upon carrying into effect the recommendations of the Committee in this respect. The right hon. Gentleman who preceded him at the Admiralty (Mr. Goschen) had under his consideration the advisability of establishing a College such as was now contemplated, and he went so far as to institute inquiries as to the best site for the purpose. The proposal of the present Government would come before the Committee in the form of a small Vote for a site. There were many recommendations in favour of Dartmouth. It was a healthy place, the harbour was well closed in, and it had other advantages for the training of young men for service. A proprietor in the immediate neighbourhood, or the trustees of a proprietor, had offered as much land as they wanted at a very moderate figure.

Another matter which had engaged his attention was the present system of competition on entrance as naval cadets. On this point, too, the Committee had unanimously reported in entire disapproval of the present method of entry by competition. Even when restricted as at present by the nomination of only two boys for each vacancy, the system was hurtful to the boys, and therefore injurious to the service. He had acted upon this recommendation, and the nominations granted for the next examination had been granted without reference to competitive examination. There had been a change made in the examination, also recommended by the Committee. They proposed that Latin should be included in the subjects of examination, on the ground that it would be impossible for boys to be crammed on that subject, and that it would be a better test of educational acquirements. The Committee also disapproved of the enormous number of subjects in which the boys were examined on the Britannia, and in accordance with their recommendation, the course of study had been altered, and the subjects of examination reduced. Until the College was opened, it would not be possible to act upon the recommendation of the Committee as to the three years' course of study, broken by summer cruises, but it would be carried out, if Parliament sanctioned the institution of the College.

With regard to the higher education of officers, he had to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen) on the success which had attended the institution of a Naval College at Greenwich. He stated last year when he moved the Navy Estimates, that the number of officers studying there was 194; the number of officers now studying there was 230. He believed the institution of the Naval College at Greenwich would tend very much to the efficiency of the service.

Probably it was known to Members of the Committee that a short time ago a new Order in Council was made with reference to the position of Medical Officers. The feeling of the medical profession generally had been that medical officers did not hold their proper place on board ship—that they were not sufficiently considered with regard to relative rank and other matters. The Order in Council had given them a further advancement as regarded rank, a corresponding small change had been made in their uniform, and an improvement had been made with regard to retirement. No addition had been made to their pay; but now every medical officer who entered the Service would, after he had been 20 years on full pay service, be able to retire on 15s. a-day, if he preferred it. The new Order had not been long enough in operation to ascertain whether the objections of the medical gentlemen would be removed; but from the tone of the organs which represented the medical profession, he thought the new rules would give satisfaction.

As to the Boys who were being trained as seamen, the Admiralty found that the advantages which were offered to them were not sufficient. The boys, on joining, had recorded against them a debt for their kit, and it was impossible for them to have any money to spend, or anything to send to their parents. They contrasted the unfavourable nature of their employment in this respect with that of occupations on shore, and that led to a very considerable falling-off in the number of boys that the Admiralty were able to recruit for the service. A very short time ago the number of boys was less by 900 than the number required. Now, considering that we depended for our best seamen on the boys we trained ourselves, that was a very serious matter. "Without waiting for the bringing forward of the Navy Estimates, he appealed at once to the Treasury on the subject, and the result was that the boys now received free kits on joining, and the deficiency in the number had been reduced by nearly one-half.

He now came to a question which his hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. T. Brassey) had on several occasions brought before the House—namely, the question of the Naval Reserve. That was a matter to which he (Mr. Hunt) had given—as was probably known to the Committee—a great deal of personal attention. In the course of last autumn he had an opportunity of visiting nearly all the principal training ships and stations on the coast, and of talking to the men themselves, to those who enrolled them, and to those who trained them. He was accompanied in his inspection by a late Colleague (Sir Walter Tarleton) who took great interest in the matter. They found the facilities for drilling given to the men, particularly to second-class men, were not sufficient; that they had to go very great distances for drill; and also that there were other impediments in the way of men joining which the Admiralty hoped to get rid of when the rules were revised—and they were now undergoing revision. They found that the distance of the drilling place from their ordinary residences deterred a great number of men from joining. The Admiralty had established a drilling station at Stornoway, and had received 400 or 500 men; and at Inverness, a considerable number of men had been obtained. On the 1st of March, 1874, the number of men of the first-class was 11,606, and the number of men of the second-class was 2,122. The number of men in the current month of the first-class was 12,392, and of the second-class 4,599. The number of men provided for in these Estimates was 18,000, and it would be seen that the two last numbers added together amounted to nearly 17,000. With regard to the second-class, he knew that a great many people of authority rather disparaged men of that class, and thought it was hardly worth while to recruit them. He did not share that opinion, and the specimen he had seen of them, consisted of very strong, powerful, and active men. They acquired their drill very easily, and one great advantage was, that you could always find them when you wanted them, whereas a great many of the first-class men were in distant parts of the world, and could not be got when they were wanted. The second-class men were thoroughly acquainted with the coast, and when drilled, they could fight the guns well. It was true they could not, as a rule, go aloft or steer with a wheel; but they were very useful men, and would be ready to go afloat if wanted. The Admiralty thought that the organization of the Reserve Force might be carried still further. As was well known to hon. Members of the Committee, there was now a movement with regard to training ships for the Mercantile Marine. The hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. T. Brassey) had often urged the utility of training boys to employment in the Mercantile Marine, in order that they might join the Naval Reserve. There were, as the Committee knew, many training ships now, but they were mostly philanthropic institutions. Some of them were more or less a species, he was going to say, of gaols, but that, perhaps, was too hard a term. Some of them were a sort of reformatory schools, and others were industrial schools—boys in destitute circumstances who had been rescued from the temptations to a life of crime being placed on board these ships. The Admiralty were not disposed to ask any boys in reformatory schools to join the Naval Reserve; but as regarded boys trained on board industrial ships, he saw no reason why they should not be invited, and he proposed that those who managed these ships should be asked to allow guns to be placed on board those ships for the purpose of drilling. He did not think these ships could furnish a very great number of boys whom the Admiralty could invite into the Reserve; but the proposal to train boys for the Mercantile Navy in various ships around our coasts he thought opened a much larger field. In fact, he felt so strongly the importance of movement as regarded our Reserves, that he had been considering in what way the Admiralty should assist the establishment of those ships in a national point of view. His right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Sir Charles Adderley), a short time ago informed the House what contribution he proposed should be given to the men per head from the Mercantile Marine for training boys in these ships. What the Admiralty proposed was this—it must be understood, however, that they could not undertake to do it all at once—they would provide a ship, her moorings, and an amount of rigging sufficient for training purposes. They proposed to put one or two heavy guns on board, and to pay a pensioner as an instructor. The Admiralty must be entirely at liberty to limit the number to be received, but those who were received would be required to produce certificates of good conduct and proficiency in drill, and for those so received £3 per head would be paid to the ship. He did not mean £3 per annum, but £3 for every boy who was taken into the Naval Reserve. For this purpose it was proposed to institute a third-class of the Naval Reserve. Then it was intended that every boy who was taken into the Naval Reserve should receive a suit of clothes every year; but as a condition of his service he would be bound to go to sea. Thus the boys, after being trained on board the ships, would not be received into the Naval Reserve, unless they had actually served at sea or were prepared to do so. The actual regulations with regard to that were not yet framed, but these would be their main provisions. Besides, it was proposed that the boys, when they reached the age of 18 years, should be enabled to pass into the other classes of the Naval Reserve; and he looked forward to the time when we should have an ample supply in the higher classes of the Naval Reserve of men who had been trained as boys on board these ships, who had been accustomed to the use of arms of all kinds from their earliest years, and who had been thoroughly drilled. We should then feel that we had a real Reserve which we might depend upon in case of emergency. The Commission on Manning the Navy recommended that 30,000 should be the number to be enrolled in the Navy Reserve. Whether that number would be fixed upon now that the crews of ships of war were smaller than they used to be, was a matter remaining to be settled. Therefore, the limit to be put to the Naval Reserve had not yet been fixed. We had lately, however, had 17,000, and it was now proposed to have 18,000. While upon this subject, he ought not to omit saying that the consideration of all these matters had led him to the conclusion that there ought to be a head to this Force. Of late years the Naval Reserves had been under the administration of the Second Naval Lord. Inspections were made from time to time by the Commander-in-Chief of the District, but there was no head of the force to whom the officers employed in the service could refer, and nobody who could stimulate the zeal and ability of the officers concerned in the drilling, or of those employed in enrolling the men. Therefore, he had appointed an Admiral Superintendent of the Naval Reserve outside the Admiralty, and he looked forward to great advantages accruing from that appointment, because the officer in question took the deepest interest in the matter, and had had great experience with regard to the Reserve Forces. Although the extra expense figured a little larger in the Estimates, it would be only £2,400 a-year after allowance was made for the abatement on Vote 1, by reason of the officer not drawing half-pay. So small a sum ought not to stand in the way of the most efficient organization we could get. He had discussed this subject with a great many naval authorities, and had been unable to find two opinions with regard to it.

And now he wished to touch upon a question which had been a matter of great concern to him—namely, the stagnation of promotion generally through-out the service. In the year 1874 three captains were promoted to be admirals, eight commanders were promoted to be captains, and 15 lieutenants were promoted to be commanders. Of these lieutenants, one had been promoted from the Royal yacht and six were promoted for services during the Ashantee War. He could not say he was satisfied with this state of things. It might be said that this was only a temporary evil. Well, perhaps it was only a temporary evil; but, at all events, it was an evil which would last long enough to wear out the hearts of some of the best officers in the service. He could not disguise from the House that he must look forward, before a very long interval elapsed, to introducing a measure on the subject. He did not wish to go into details about the measure now; but he would only say that having accepted the office he now held without having had any previous experience in it, he was unwilling to make any sudden proposals or to attempt to frame a scheme without due and mature consideration; and therefore he had not been in haste to do so. It was a subject of very great difficulty, in which the interests of the officers and the advantage of the public service were involved, and it required to be well considered; but he looked forward to proposing a scheme at no distant date to remedy what he regarded as a most undesirable state of things.

There were one or two other matters to which he wished to refer. One of them was the getting rid of what last year he called the "old lumber" of the Admiralty, when he remarked that when a ship was useless and never likely to be useful again, she ought to be broken up and disposed of. This policy he had endeavoured to carry out last year, and the House had assented to his taking an additional sum for breaking up ships in the Dockyards. £4,000 was taken in the original Estimate, and £2,000 in the Supplementary Estimate presented a few days ago. He had also made a contract with a firm of shipbuilders for the sale of some 35,000 tons of old vessels. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Reed) had spoken of the exceptional mode in which these ships had been disposed of; but when he saw the Returns moved for by his hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw-Lefevre) he would find that the bargain was more advantageous to the Admiralty than any previous one. The sum it would bring into the Exchequer in the financial year was £128,000.

Last year a good deal was said on the subject of boilers. That question, he was sorry to say, had not yet been solved. He had appointed a Committee to consider it, and they had made a short preliminary Report. He had been promised another Report before he moved the Estimates, but it had not yet come to hand. The Committee had examined boilers of all descriptions; but considered it necessary to prosecute their inquiries further, and he was told the information was exceedingly valuable. [Mr. E. J. REED asked, whether the right non. Gentleman would lay the Report before the House?] He (Mr. Hunt) was not sure whether the first Report would be of sufficient importance to submit to the House alone; but if his hon. Friend wished to look at it, he should have no objection to show it to him. He hoped the Report he was likely to have in the course of a few days would go more fully into the matter, in which case, perhaps, both the Reports might be laid upon the Table together.

He now proposed to go into the more dry part of the subject, and that was the figures in the Estimates. The total amount of the Estimates was £10,784,644. That was the gross amount; the net amount, after deducting extra receipts and Indian contributions, which together amounted to £322,000, was brought down to £ 10,462,644. But he was bound to add a certain sum to this. It was well known to the House that the Army Estimates provided a sum for naval ordnance, while there was no sum in the Navy Estimates for the transport of troops. The balance against the Navy was £60,419, and this made the total of the net charge £10,523,063, or, in round numbers, £10,500,000. This net charge was almost to a pound £500,000 in excess of the net charge for 1874–5 according to the original Estimates he laid upon the Table, and according to the statement he made about 11 months ago. Taking the gross sum he had stated—£10,784,644—there was a net increase of £344,539 as compared with that of 1874–5, including the Supplementary Estimates. This comparison, however, was not altogether a just one, because the Estimates for 1874–5 included an exceptional service of a peculiar description—namely, the Arctic Expedition. The Vote for this expedition in 1874–5 was £98,620, while for the present year it was only £13,000. The increase this year might, therefore, be more justly taken at £430,000. The year 1875–6 was an exceedingly unfortunate one. He had been obliged to include under different Estimates a sum of £43,000 which did not really belong to the year at all, but was required to satisfy the claims of India in past years, the amount of those claims having only just been arrived at. But the financial misfortune did not end there. Next year was Leap Year, which not only added another day's pay, but a 53rd weekly pay-day instead of 52; and these two disturbing elements together caused an increase of no less than £25,000. There was an increase for the non-Effective Service, over which he had no control whatever. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lowe) used to call that an automatic increase; and there was an automatic increase this year to the extent of £38,000. These figures taken together amounted to about £106,000. India had been his bane again. The terms on which we found men and officers for the Indian troop-ships had been readjusted; he had been bound to admit that we had been too exacting, and that the amount, formerly charged in respect of these ships, charged for the whole year was not what India ought in justice to be called upon to pay. One Indian troop-ship had also been put out of commission, so that there were now four, instead of five. These re-adjustments threw upon the Estimates a sum of £8,000 spread over two Votes. It was a question whether the number of seamen should be reduced on this account, but it was thought unadvisable to make any reduction in numbers. The sum just named, however, was not all lost, because the result was that the country had the advantage of the services of 100 men throughout the whole year and of 500 for five months of the year, while otherwise these men would have been bound to serve India and India alone. A slight increase of pay to the Artificers of the Fleet would account for about £7,000 of increase, and the free kit to the boys would cost £15,000. On the Victualling Vote there was an increase of £21,000; about £18,000 was due to the increase of numbers in the Naval Reserve, and about £8,000 on account of an issue of clothing to some of the Marines, which happened to fall within the present year. The addition to the Royal Naval Reserve increased that Vote by £25,000, of which about £2,400 was due to the establishment of the new office of Admiral Superintendent. There was an increase under both sections of Vote 10—Naval Stores and Machinery for Ships and Ships built by Contract. The increase appeared to be £160,000; but if allowance were made for the increase in 1874–5 on account of the Arctic ships in victualling, the increase would be £182,000. The increase in the Vote for Stores was, in a measure, owing to the fact that experience had shown that the sum taken last year was insufficient. Only a few nights ago the House was called on for a large excess Estimate for 1873–4, in which the item of Stores figured largely; and in 1874–5 there would be an excess upon the Store Vote. At this period, it was impossible to say exactly what the excess would be, and he was in hopes it would be met, to a great extent, if not entirely, by surpluses on other Votes; at all events, the Estimate for Stores in 1874–5 would be insufficient. In proposing the Supplementary Vote, he stated that he hoped there would be a saving upon the Stores. It turned out that, though prices were lower, the quantities would be greater, and therefore, instead of a surplus upon that Vote, he feared there would be a deficit. The sum taken for the present year, though in excess of the previous year's Estimate, was not in excess of the expenditure. The sum now asked for, however, was intended to cover the increased consumption of Stores, because it was proposed to do more work in the Dockyards. With regard to that part of the Vote relating to Machinery for Ships built by Contract, there was nothing new involved in the way of policy. The increase was due to the sums it was necessary to take for instalments under existing contracts, and partly to provide machinery for ships being built by contract, and for breaking up of ships. That was only the natural sequel of the Votes already taken in previous years, and the policy which had been pursued. The Scientific Vote showed a decrease of nearly £6,000, due almost entirely to the cessation of expenditure with reference to the Transit of Venus, and to a slight extent in connection with the scientific branch of the Arctic Expedition. There was a decrease of nearly £30,000 in Vote 11, for Works, but the amount taken includes a small sum for preliminary operations in connection with the building of a naval college at Dartmouth.

With regard to New Works, one of the chief was the extension of the Dock-yard at Chatham. The original Estimate for this work was £1,700,000. As the work went on, however, prices rose and unforeseen difficulties of a physical character presented themselves; some changes were found necessary, and a revised Estimate was made, adding to the original Estimate no loss than £250,000. Nearly the whole of the sum originally estimated had been spent already. Of these works Colonel Pasley, the Director of Works, said— Of the three basins or floating docks, four dry docks, two locks, and the public wharf at Gillingham which form the principal features of this work, two basins, all the four dry docks, and the public wharf are completed and in use. [The position in which the steamboat landing-stage is intended to be placed being at present blocked by the dam at the eastern end of the third basin, it has been temporarily placed in another site, from which it will be removed eventually at the expense of the Admiralty. This will be a work of very trifling cost; and in all other respects the wharf is complete.] Of the third basin, rather more than one-half is, with trifling exceptions, finished, and the remainder, together with the two locks and the river wall adjoining them, has yet to he completed. The ground in which these are to be constructed has been laid dry by the construction of a great earthen dam, and the excavation for the basin walls has been commenced. Thus the Committee would see from this Report the beginning of the end of the works at Chatham. For the extension of the Yard at Portsmouth the original Estimate was £2,207,000, the revised Estimate, £2,350,000, showing an increase of £143,000. The works there were still more nearly completed than at Chatham. Colonel Pasley said of them— The repairing basin, with its two dry docks, and the tidal basin with the deep dock, as well as the two entrance locks, are now completed, and only await the removal of the dam, and the fixing of the caissons in their places, to be brought into use. Some delay has arisen from the novelty and complexity of the machinery and arrangements connected with sliding caissons of such unprecedented dimensions as these, but I hope nothing will occur to prevent the opening of the two basins and three dry docks early in the coming summer. There was a new item of £18,000 under the head of Keyham for the construction of a pontoon for docking vessels of 1,000 tons and under. There was a great want of accommodation for docking this class of vessels, and Colonel Pasley said— The small docks at Woolwich and Deptford are no longer available, and no new ones have taken their place. Under existing circumstances, therefore, ships of small tonnage have frequently to await a chance of going into docks which are much too large for them, in which they cannot be economically or conveniently accommodated, and which they can only occupy to the exclusion of ships for which the docks are better adapted. This work was represented to the Admiralty as one of urgent necessity. At first new docks were thought necessary, but the plan of a pontoon was devised for docking vessels of 1,000 tons and under, and, of course, cost much less than docks did. The next point to which he would refer was the extension of the works at Haulbowline. That was a subject which was brought before the House by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Ronayne) last Session, and on that occasion the Junior Lord of the Admiralty (Sir Massey Lopes) promised that they would go and have a look at the works. In the course of last autumn they did go, and experienced some very rough weather in doing so. The conclusion which they came to was that if the work was worth going on with at all it ought to be proceeded with faster. Great importance was attached to this work by naval authorities of great judgment. As it was now dragging on from year to year, we were getting no benefit from what was already done; and therefore he had come to the conclusion that the work should be carried on with greater expedition. He therefore proposed to increase the Vote for 1875–6 to £30,000, being an addition of £10,000 to last year's Vote. The revised Estimate for the work amounted to £420,000, which was an excess of £90,000 over the original Estimate. He came then to the question of Alderney. There was a Report from Colonel Pasley on that subject, which suggested one of three courses. Colonel Pasley said— It may be dealt with in any one of the three following methods:—namely, 1, the whole work may be abandoned to its fate; 2, the whole may be maintained; and 3, the outer portion may he abandoned and the inner maintained. And he added— In every respect the abandonment of the outer and the maintenance of the inner portion of the work appears to me to be the best policy to pursue. He proposed to adopt the course which had been thus recommended by Colonel Pasley. That completed the observations which he had to make upon the "Works Vote, and also upon the increase and decrease in the Estimates, with one exception. That exception referred to the employment of men in the Dockyards. He had not taken that subject before, because, being a a question of policy, it appeared better to deal with it separately, inasmuch as it was possible that some controversy might arise on the point, though he hoped that would not be the case. The increase under Vote 6, for Dockyards, &c, was given in the Estimates as £68,743; but, as £18,000 under that head was taken for the Arctic Expedition in 1874–5, the increase was really £86,000. Of this £22,000 was for the 53rd weekly pay-day of Leap Year. The main part of the increase, however, was due to the proposal to add 880 men to the existing dockyard strength, which would bring the total numbers up to 16,000. He was unable to deal with this question without referring to a matter which caused some excitement last Session, namely—the state of our Fleet. He hoped the same animated discussions on the matter would not again arise. He had no wish to treat it in a controversial spirit; but it was utterly impossible that he could avoid dealing with the subject. He made a statement last year with regard to the condition of our ironclad fleet, which was forced upon him by the fact that there was a Motion for Inquiry into the matter, and there were letters in the papers, from persons more or less acquainted with the subject, giving an exaggerated account of its condition. He felt it his duty, therefore, to lay what he believed to be the actual state of our ironclad fleet before the House. He did so after laborious investigation, and to the best of his ability. That statement was criticized very much in this House, and still more in the Press; but he could only say that now, after 11 months' reflection and inquiry, he entirely adhered to what he had then said. It was argued in the Press that the statement he had made was utterly impossible, and it was attempted to put the First Lord of the Admiralty in this dilemma—either that he had exaggerated the ill-condition of the ironclad fleet, or that he had not taken sufficient means to remedy it. Well, he would admit, to a certain modified extent, the truth of the latter charge, and his repentance in that respect would be seen in the proposals he was now about to make—namely, a further addition to the Dockyard strength, as well as other proposals for the improvement of the condition of our Fleet. He had said to "a modified extent;" but, with regard to his proposals generally, he did not consider himself open to the charge. Those who looked to the Navy Estimates simply were apt to say—"Oh, the Navy Estimates were originally £10,000,000, and the First Lord of the Admiralty only proposes to add £150,000." But those who went carefully into the matter knew that was not a fair remark. First of all, the Navy Estimates were not entirely taken up with the building and repairing of ships. That formed but a small part of the total sum taken in the Estimates. When they struck off about £2,000,000 for the non-Effective Services, and took into account what was spent on the personnel of the Fleet and other matters, that would leave out of £10,500,000 in round numbers, the Estimates of last year, only about £3,000,000 for the building and repairing of ships. The addition, therefore, to this total to which he proposed to make in the Supplementary Estimate was, in his view, not a very small one. Besides, those who made the charge against him omitted to observe what a large addition to the number of men in the Dockyards was made the year before by the right hon. Gentleman his Predecessor. In 1863–4, 640 men were added; in 1874–5. 700 men were proposed to be added by the right hon. Gentleman opposite; while he, himself, added 800 men, 100 in the original and 700 in the Supplementary Estimate. So that 2,140 in the course of two years were added to the Dockyards. That was a very formidable addition, and one which ought not to have been disregarded, when the means which he proposed to take for improving the conditions of the Navy were criticized. He pointed out in his speech on that occasion, that the Navy Estimates which had gone down for some years, had of late been swelling in the hands of his Predecessor. Therefore, the conditions of things was to be considered, not with reference to the Estimates framed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite last year, but to the Estimates put before the Committee in previous years. His out-of-door critics of last year had this year returned to the subject, and said that in the Estimates now lying on the Table was to be found a decisive argument for invalidating the statement which he made as to the condition of our Fleet last year. He had shown what the total net addition to the Estimates this year was. The proposal which he now made was, to add 880 men to the Dockyard establishments; but he would like the Committee to see what the difference was between the money which he proposed should be devoted to the building and repairing of ships this year, and what it was under the Estimates of 1872–3. The Paper which he held in his hand had been prepared for him by the Departmental officers, and it was well known to the Members of the House who studied the Estimates, that the sums taken for the matériel of the Fleet were comprised in Votes 6 and 10. In Section 1, Vote 10, there were some matters which had no reference to the matériel of the Fleet; but these had been eliminated by the Departmental officers who drew up the Paper. That being so, he came to these figures—In 1872–3, £2,189,000 was taken for the matériel of the Fleet, and according to the Estimates now on the Table £3,280,000 were taken; so that there was this year a difference of a little over 1,000,000, or an addition of some 50 per cent to the amount taken in 1872–3. So that those who said that the proposals which he now laid before the Committee were inadequate for putting the Fleet in proper condition had not their attention directed to the difference of the Estimates now proposed as compared with those of 1872–3. He knew it would be said that there had been a rise in prices since that time. According to the Estimate made by the Department that rise did not exceed 20 per cent. and if hon. Gentlemen deducted that, they would still find £800,000 and over as the addition to the expenditure on the ships. He had thought it necessary to state so much, because he had been somewhat roughly handled in reference to this matter. One re-presenting such a Department might expect to be duly and sharply criticized; he did not complain, but he thought the criticism should be tempered by all the knowledge that could be brought to bear on the subject. The facts he had stated would, he hoped, be duly considered. When he said that he adhered to the statement he made last year, he was going to make a qualification. He stated that there were nine ships of war not worth repairing for seagoing purposes. It had been thought that one of those ships might possibly be worth repairing —the Royal Alfred. It appeared in the programme for this year; but it could not be known that she would be worth repairing till she was examined. But with that qualification he adhered to the statement he made last year. He also told the Committee last year that there were at that time 14 ships thoroughly effective for service "in the proper sense of the term," and he meant those words to be part of his statement. He said also, that in the course of the year four more would be ready, making 18 ships "in the proper sense of the term" thoroughly efficient, and that expectation had been realized. He now would inform the Committee how they should stand in the immediate future. By the end of the financial year there would be four more, and by the end of 1875–6 four others, making 26 thoroughly efficient vessels altogether. He was not speaking of what were termed at the Admiralty "special ships," such as the Devastation and the Thunderer. He did not undervalue ships of the Thunderer and Devastation type; but he had been speaking of ironclad ships fit for cruising purposes. But by the end of the year their Fleet would be strengthened by the addition of the Thunderer, which would be completed. The difference that would result from the addition of the men he had asked for would be that one ironclad would be completed in 12 months instead of two years; and one, coming in for repairs, in 8 months instead of 20; and they would make progress with the Inflexible and Téméraire to the extent of 300 or 400 tons each more than they would have done. They would also be able to commence and make some progress with a new class of vessels to which he would allude presently. That was the prospect before them, supposing the proposals he now made to the Committee were accepted. It might be asked, considering the condition of the Fleet to be such as he had pointed out, why had nothing more been done? He had been governed by these considerations. He thought it exceedingly undesirable to add an enormous number of men to the Dockyards for one or two years. The shortness of the employment was bad enough in itself, and when they were discharged great distress very often was the result. A disturbance in the labour market was also created which it was exceedingly desirable to avoid. One, of course, had to consider whether such a spasmodic effort was necessary, and he came to the conclusion that though things were not in a satisfactory state there was nothing either in the condition of other fleets or in the condition of our own to make such a spasmodic effort necessary. He thought it better to proceed more quietly, making considerable additions, and, at the same time, spreading the work over a greater number of years. He said just now, he admitted he had not made sufficient provision last year. It was said by many that the Treasury was the obstacle—that he had formed grand notions of spending millions on the Fleet; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not accept the bills he drew on him. There never was the slightest foundation for that assertion. His right hon. Friend and he were entirely at one on the matter. He generously accorded him all he had asked, and if anyone in the Government was to blame for the proposals made last year he was alone to blame. He did not say his knowledge was now all it ought to be; but with the experience he had since acquired he came to the conclusion that the number of men he had asked for last year was insufficient. He was not ashamed to say he was then entirely new to the work. He was exceedingly anxious to give full weight to the administrative ability of the right hon. Gentleman who preceded him, and he shrank from proposing a larger addition to what the right hon. Gentleman recommended to the House. But the experience of the last year, and the discussions which had occurred at the Admiralty, satisfied him that unless additions were made to the Dockyard strength they would not be able to make much progress, and the Fleet would not be what it ought to be within a moderate length of time. Under these circumstances, he now made the proposition he had stated to the Committee.

Now, with regard to the programme of ships, he did not propose to contract this year for any new ship except a torpedo vessel. In some respects the contract work would be greater, but it would be on ships already commenced. In the Dockyard he proposed to commence two new ships of the Arab class and two vessels of an entirely new type—very fast despatch vessels, the exact design of which had not yet been settled. But it was pro posed that they should be vessels having a speed of 17 or 18 knots. There were ships building in foreign yards of that speed. They would be exceedingly useful in overtaking an enemy's ships of commerce or protecting our own, and they would be able to render great service in case of war. It was proposed that some progress should be made on one of these in the course of the financial year; the other would be commenced, but little progress would be mad'; with her. With regard to the ironclads, the Committee would remember that last year two new ironclads were sanctioned. They were being built by contract. He proposed now to do no work on new ironclads, but to get the sanction of the House for the laying out of two new ironclads in the Dockyards, so that they might be ready to put the men upon them when they were taken off the ships about to be completed. The designs for those two new ships were not yet matured; but in getting the consent of the Committee without laying the plans before them he was only following the example of the right hon. Gentleman two years ago.


But they will be laid on the Table before the end of the Session if you follow my example.


said, he would be happy to do that as soon as the designs were settled. Perhaps the Committee were hardly aware of the number of ships now in course of construction. There were in the Dockyards and by contract no less than 42–8 ironclads, 4 iron corvettes wood-sheathed—6 composite corvettes, 9 composite sloops, 5 composite gunboats, 2 troopships, 1 paddle vessel, 1 tug-boat, 2 iron barges, 1 wood barge, 2 armed despatch boats, and I torpedo vessel. He did not count the two ironclads he proposed to lay down this year. The Committee, he thought, would be of opinion that when these were completed they would form a large addition to the efficiency of our Fleet. It was proposed to build in Her Majesty's Dockyards in the course of the year 13,812 tons, and to employ for building work 5,194 men. The contract work proposed to be done was 5,853 tons, making with the work in the Dockyards a total of 19,665 tons. The principal work undertaken by the Government this year was the repairing rather than the building of ships. Last year he pointed out that the expectations held out by the late Government as to the amount of tonnage to be built had not been realized, and he was sorry to say that in this respect he was no better than his Predecessors. The total tonnage which the Government proposed to build last year was 19,962; but the actual work done was only 15,258 tons, so that they had boon behindhand in the year's operations to the extent of 4,704 tons, including the contracts. This deficit, however, was partly due to the fact that the work connected with the ships of the Arctic Expedition had employed a great number of men who would otherwise have been employed on now ships. With regard to the work done by contractors, he believed that in many cases strikes and difficulties with their workmen prevented them making so much progress as was expected. Perhaps, as he said something about the desirability of doing more boiler work in the Dockyards it might be as well that he should state what they had done during the last financial year. The total number of horse power of boilers completed in the year was 3,299, or about 15,000 indicated horse power. They proposed last year to take on 100 additional men for boiler work, but those were only taken on after May in that year; the increase of boiler work due to those additional men was 1,010 horse power; and the additional boiler work per annum, owing to the additional men, if employed for the whole year, was estimated at 2,000 nominal horse power.

Now, he believed that he had gone through all the matters that he had thought it necessary to bring to the attention of the Committee. He had occupied the Committee a considerable time; yet it might be that he had omitted many things upon which the Committee might have desired information. It was almost impossible upon any one occasion to advert to all the matters of interest; but they all knew perfectly well that hon. Members would have an opportunity of putting questions and eliciting information with regard to the different Votes; and therefore that night was not the last occasion upon which he should have to be upon his legs as to the Navy Estimates of 1875–6. He thanked the Committee for its kind attention, and concluded by moving the Vote for the number of men.


said, he was not sorry to take part in the ceremony of that evening, which included, among other things, the burial of a great many past controversies. Some of these controversies had been long and fierce, and after having hoard so much of them for the last five years, the House would no doubt be heartily glad to part with them. The right hon. Gentleman, in his clear exposition of the various topics which came under his notice, alluded to much which was of great interest to the Committee, and to all who paid attention to naval affairs. But perhaps many hon. Members were as much interested by the omissions from that speech, as by that which was contained in it. They were happy to hear that the number of Men proposed was precisely the same as the number which had been submitted to the House for the past four or five years. There was a time when very lively attacks used to be made on the late Government in regard to these matters. The hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir James Elphinstone) was always complaining in former days that our ships were under-manned, and the Estimates insufficient; but the right hon. Gentleman in the speech which had just been heard, made no mention whatever of an insufficiency of men. Again, it used to be said that the number of boys was deficient, but that number had been for years past either 7,500 or 7,000. This year it was to be 7,000. Both as regarded Men and as regarded Boys, the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman were satisfactory. Then there was the question of our foreign establishments, the number of squadrons which were to be employed, and the number of ships in those squadrons. About these things also there had been animated controversies. Now, however, the controversies had died out. The right hon. Gentleman had not thought it necessary to say a word with regard to the number of ships to be kept in commission; and it might, therefore, be assumed that in respect to the amount of naval force which was deemed necessary for the protection of our Colonies and the general service of the Empire, the right hon. Gentleman had thought it right to abide by the lines laid down by his Predecessors. Another subject which every one must have been glad to find omitted from the speech of the right hon. Gen tleman was the organization of the Admiralty. It was to be hoped they had heard the last of this subject, and that the right hon. Gentleman found the machinery of his Department working in a fairly smooth and satisfactory manner. The time of the House would be infinitely better employed in debating the work of the Admiralty than in constantly disturbing the Department by taking its machinery to pieces. In regard to the Coastguard, as in other important respects, the policy of the late Government had been accepted. 4,300, the force which had existed during the last five years, still remained on the Estimates. Altogether, there was good reason to be satisfied that so many controversies had been got rid of. For his own part, he had always been anxious that naval matters should be discussed in that House without Party spirit, and that the important and difficult questions which naturally arose in connection with these Navy Estimates should be considered solely on their merits. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to one controversy which still remained—namely, as to the number of men employed in the Dockyards—but that was a small matter in comparison with the disputes which now seemed to be at an end. He was happy to be able to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the constitution of the Board of Admiralty, and upon the ability of the naval advisors by whom he was surrounded. He had called to his councils Sir Alexander Milne, who had been associated with the late Board—Admiral Hornby, than whom no more able officer existed, and Lord Gilford, whom he (Mr. Goschen) had been most glad to appoint to the Steam Reserve at Ports-mouth. There was every reason, there-fore, to rely upon the advice which the First Lord of the Admiralty would receive from those who formed his council. There were various topics which called for brief notice before coming to the more important subjects which were touched in the concluding part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. In regard to the question—no doubt a difficult and delicate question—as to the Warrant Officers, he thought it a pity the right hon. Gentleman had said they had made out a case, when he was not prepared, on account of the heavy pressure upon this year's Estimates, to deal at present with their grievance. It was rather a delicate matter to hold out hopes to any branch of the profession, though he had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman would do his best to meet the question. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman was not silent upon the matter, though he (Mr. Goschen) quite recognized the temptation to sympathize with a most deserving body of men; and as the right hon. Gentleman had acknowledged that something ought to be done, it might be wise that he should try, in connection with this year's Estimates, to do what justice required. In connection with the question of "hauling-down" vacancies, he thought the right hon. Gentleman had taken a very wise step. The matter frequently occupied the attention of the Board in his (Mr. Goschen's) time, and he gave the right hon. Gentleman all credit for what he had done. Next, as to the training of cadets, the right hon. Gentleman had correctly stated that the substitution of a college for the training ship Britannia had occupied the attention of the late Board, and he (Mr. Goschen) was himself strongly in favour of the substitution. He believed that, notwithstanding the unanimous view of the Committee appointed by the right hon. Gentleman, there was a considerable difference of opinion among naval officers; but, on the other hand, there was, among men well competent to judge, a desire to see the college substituted. He himself could only say that he wished the latter scheme every success. He could not, however, go entirely with the right hon. Gentleman when he said that he had already abolished competition as regarded entry into the naval service. The new regulations under which the nomination would be given had not been very clearly stated; but perhaps it might be assumed from what had been said, that it would be simply a matter of patronage with a test examination. This would be a very serious change. He admitted there were objections to competitions in the ease of very young boys—still, it was well known that there were scholarships offered in public schools to boys about the same age as those who sought to enter the Navy. The whole question of the admission of cadets was involved and required investigation; and it would be well to have a separate discussion de voted to it, in order that all the arguments might be thoroughly threshed out. It was his anxious wish that by some means boys might be drawn into the Navy from the great public schools. He was very strongly opposed to a system which made it necessary for the boys to go to one or other of a very few cramming establishments before admission. These establishments, he was aware, were exceedingly well conducted, and very successful in many respects; but it was desirable that the boys who entered the Navy should have the same general training as other boys. He was obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the complimentary terms in which he had alluded to the College at Greenwich and spoken of its success. There was no reason to find much fault, if any, with the step which had been taken in regard to the admission of boys as sailors, and the grant of free kits to them. Certainly the sum of £15,000 was rather a large one; but if it made the difference of 300 or 400 boys, the expenditure would not have been altogether ill-advised. A number of stringent regulations existed at present in connection with their admission. They occasionally found that by the relaxation of some of the over-strict regulations, the supply of equally good boys might be increased. The number of boys who went into the Navy also varied much at different times of the year. During the first two years that he was at the Admiralty, he was constantly told that the supply of boys was short and the supply of seamen falling off. Nevertheless, at the end of the year the number of boys remained the same, and the supply was increasing. The right hon. Gentleman did not state the number of blue-jackets at present on the establishment; but he gathered from his silence that it was not unsatisfactory. With regard to the Reserves, he was pleased to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that they were increasing in number, and he (Mr. Goschen) hoped improving in quality he under-stood that the satisfactory entries of upwards of 4,000 into the second-class Reserve had occurred under the regulations which he had himself made, with certain increased facilities which had been given within the last few months for drill. The controversy with respect to the Reserves had been a warm one for years. Many Gentlemen had de clared that they would not be able to get the men; but he and his Colleagues had always believed that they would get them by slightly modifying some of the regulations. He rejoiced that their expectations had been so fully realized, and that at last the number of men had overtaken the amount of money voted for them. He had no doubt that the increased facilities referred to by the right hon. Gentleman would continue to attract men to the service, and that they would be able to raise the number thought necessary. As to the assistance to be given by the State to ships for training boys for the Mercantile Marine, that subject was also considered by the late Government, who, although disposed to give a certain sum of money towards that object if necessary, found that the difficulties connected with the matter were extreme; and he was therefore anxious to see the regulations by which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to carry out that purpose. The great difficulty was to secure a sufficient hold on the young lads. It was absolutely necessary that they should present themselves annually for a certain amount of drill in order to receive the retainer. Again, many training ships took boys almost as late as they were taken in the Royal Navy—so that when they went to the ships they were rather above the age when they should be taken into the Navy. However, if the right hon. Gentleman could solve those difficulties, and insure that the lads should be made efficient by a regular system of drill, he hoped that he would be able to carry out his scheme. With regard to promotion, every one must feel sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman in the difficulty he now experienced, and must also feel that he had been rightly advised in not dealing at all hastily with that matter. Half the existing difficulties arose from the somewhat inconsiderate way—if he might say so—in which naval cadets were entered years ago. He had heard it rumoured that the right hon. Gentleman and his Board had been increasing the entries of cadets. At the close of his own tenure of office he reduced the number considerably, partly with the view of changing the regulations under which they entered; and therefore, in fairness, he allowed that the right hon. Gentleman was entitled to increase somewhat the entries, so as to make up the deficiency of the year before he took office. But he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would be able to show them that he had not by an excessive entry of cadets exposed them to a recurrence of their old difficulties by and by. It was all very well as long as those cadets remained in subordinate ranks; they wanted them as sub-lieutenants and lieutenants; but they would have assuredly to pay the penalty of the system in after years in that stagnation of promotion which was so detrimental to the service. The right hon. Gentleman should, therefore, guard against future danger of that kind by checking any undue entry of cadets. The right hon. Gentleman's next topic—he (Mr. Goschen) took them in the same order—was that of ships and stores, and he had informed the Committee that he had taken vigorous steps to sell 35,000 tons of useless shipping. He had forgotten to include that subject among the buried controversies of which he had already spoken. The late Government had been strongly attacked for parting with a number of ships of the Navy for the sake of a paltry sum of money; and the charge was even brought against them—and it went the round of the papers—that they were going to put up Nelson's ship for sale. Why was that? Because they thought fit to sell some useless ships. Now, however, the right hon. Gentleman was to sell 35,000 tons of useless ships besides those that were to be broken up in the Government yards. It might be well to dispose of those ships provided every care was taken that none were broken up which might be used as receiving ships, training ships, or for any of the other purposes for which there were many applications. Acting, no doubt, under the impression that the late Admiralty were virulently assailed because they put up ships to auction, and thinking it a thing which went against all sentiment that they should be knocked down by the hammer—the right hon. Gentleman adopted the hole-and-corner mode of disposing of them by private contract. Much might be said on the particular method in which that was done; but, on the whole, the late Government had no cause to complain that the right hon. Gentleman had substantially pursued their policy in that matter. The right hon. Gentleman having disposed of his preliminary discussion, came to the figures of his Estimates, and it appeared that he did not know whether the increase of them would be considered large as compared with those of last year, or small; but he (Mr. Goschen) believed the right hon. Gentleman inclined to the idea that they were small. He had pointed out that India had been a very heavy pull upon him—that he had to make an addition to the charge for the non-effective service, and by various items, amounting altogether, in round figures, to £200,000, he accounted for an increase in the Estimates. But in a later part of his speech he tried to show that he had added a great deal to the Estimates; and one could perfectly understand why he did so. The right hon. Gentleman, he might here remark, had taken the lowest year he could find among the late Government's Estimates—namely, 1872–3, and stated that he was adding £1,000,000 to the shipbuilding Votes—Nos. 6 and 10.


I did not say I had added £1,000,000; but I said that the right hon. Gentleman and myself had done so.


said, he disclaimed all share in that extraordinary arithmetical transaction. The right hon. Gentleman had said that £1,000,000 having been added to Votes 6 and 10, he had really increased the shipbuilding votes by 50 per cent as compared with 1872–3. But while the right hon. Gentleman asked for 50 per cent more in money, he only asked for an increase of 3,000 men—the number in 1873–4 having been 13,000, whereas he proposed 16,000—but he altogether disputed the correctness of the right hon. Gentleman's accounts, although they might be intelligible if it were intended to devote the £800,000 to building ships by contract. Then as to the stores, the right hon. Gentleman had been obliged to ask an increase of £182,000 under that head [Mr. HUNT said, that included two sections of Votes.] Yes. In the first section he understood there was an increase of £85,000; but the right hon. Gentleman admitted that there had been a continuous rise of prices, and he (Mr. Goschen) was glad that it was not necessary to ask for more. The details of the Vote did not appear as if the Liberal Government had starved the stores and their successors had been obliged to increase the quantity. On timber there was a decrease of £4,000, on coals of £14,000, and on hemp and canvas of £6,800, and the increase was only on metal. The late Administration would plead guilty to having bought as little iron as possible during the years when iron was so high. Upon the face of this Vote it conveyed no slur upon them. To have a sufficient stock of seasoned timber in store was, he might add, a matter of great importance, and he hoped, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would subscribe to the doctrine which was acted upon by the late Board of Admiralty—that there should be large stores of articles which could not be bought at the shortest notice, but that there was no use in laying up such stores of things which could be readily procured in the market. Coming now to the shipbuilding policy of the Government and the number of men to be employed in the Dockyards, he would congratulate the right hon. Gentleman that as regarded Vote 10 Section 2, and the building of ships by contract, there was no new policy involved. The right hon. Gentleman had informed the House that there were 42 ships being built, two being new ships which were laid down this year, and two which were ordered by him on last year's Supplementary Estimates. Out of the 42, therefore, 38 had been commenced by his predecessors in office, which showed, he thought, that they had not been unmindful of the wants of the Navy. It now appeared that after the right hon. Gentleman had been a year in office he was satisfied that although it was necessary to repair ironclads more rapidly than had been done by the previous Government, yet that it was not necessary to commence, or hurry on the building of, any new ships. He did not propose to begin the building of any new ironclad frigates or corvettes, large or small, but only one small sloop of the Albatross and two of the Arab class. He did not complain of the right hon. Gentleman for adopting that course; on the contrary, he approved of it, although, as he himself had stated, he had not to deal with a close-fisted, but with a generous, Chancellor of the Exchequer, from whom he could if he wished have obtained more money had he deemed it necessary to reassure the public mind with regard to the strength of our Navy. As he had not asked for it, it was clear the right hon. Gentleman considered the number of ships to be adequate; and while he might, if he wished to be critical, take exception to the proposed repair of some obsolete ships, yet he could not help admitting that the right hon. Gentleman, with a clear field before him, a generous Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a majority behind him, who would have been prepared to sanction the building of a large number of ships, had been exceedingly modest. He was aware, to use his own expression, that it would be wrong to indulge in any spasmodic increase of our Navy, and that the state of foreign Navies as well as public opinion did not warrant him in proposing a larger programme. He was justified, no doubt, in taking that course, and he felt himself to be so, after the expiration of five years during which time his predecessors had been in office, and during which period millions had been saved to the country. He came now to the right hon. Gentleman's allusions to the controversy raised between them last year; and, in referring to this subject, he did not intend to follow the right hon. Gentleman very closely into the defence which he had made upon this point. The right hon. Gentleman said that he did not alarm the country by what he had said last year. But the right hon. Gentleman had to submit to the Committee an Increase of 1,000 men in the Dockyards, and his explanation brought out in the most clear—he might almost say in the most charming—manner the exact point of difference between himself and his predecessors in office. The right hon. Gentleman had explained that by the addition of 1,000 to the number of work-men employed in the Dockyards he should be able to turn out two ironclads in 12 instead of in 24 months, and one ironclad in 12 instead of in 20 months, and that he should be able to complete some 300 or 400 tons of shipping besides. That, therefore, was the whole difference between the right hon. Gentleman and his generous Chancellor of the Exchequer and those who had preceded him with their ferocious guardian of the public purse. He took no exception to the right hon. Gentleman's proposals. It did not matter much to this country whether we had 1,000 men more or less in our Dockyards, or whether one or two iron-clads were completed in 12 or in 24 months. Therefore, this old controversy of the number of men in the yards might be buried with the other matters of discord. The right hon. Gentleman had found out, as his predecessors had done, that the point to be kept in view was not the number of men employed in the yards, but the quantity of work which they would be able to do, and that it frequently happened that, from the greater difficulty of supervision, or from some other cause, a less proportion of work was obtained from a larger than from a smaller number of men. It was doubtful whether when these 1,000 men should be added to the yards there would be 1,000 men's work added; and he was not quite sure whether the right hon. Gentleman would not have been better advised if he had given a little more building by contract and kept the number of men in the dockyard at their present point. He should, however, give the right hon. Gentleman such support as he could in his demand for an additional number of men so as to enable him to hasten the completion of the two or three ironclads which he appeared to think it was so necessary for the country to have a year earlier than was originally intended. The work of the year was as disappointing as it had been in many previous years, and there had been few years when the amount of building had been more in arrear than it was this year, notwithstanding the additions that had been made to the number of men. The right hon. Gentleman could not be personally blamed for that shortcoming; but he trusted that he would use his great authority to concentrate the efforts of these additional men and of all the men in the dockyards in real fighting ships, and to prevent any large portion of their force being diverted from such ships to peace ships and those stationary ships on behalf of which demands were always so strongly pressed. He also trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would preserve Chatham and Pembroke as building yards, as opposed to repairing yards; because he had always found that when ships were sent to a dockyard to be repaired the regular building work of the yard was greatly interfered with, and often came to a complete standstill. He had now run through most of the topics to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred, and it was a satisfaction to many who sat on the Opposition side of the House that they were able to give the right hon. Gentleman their support with regard to the main proposals which he had made. He might say that the right hon. Gentleman's Estimates were a very outspoken epitaph upon many mistaken beliefs which had existed before; and he only hoped that our neighbours abroad and the whole service would be able to gather the true meaning and import of those Estimates, and to be able to read in them that two successive Governments, differing in political principles, were of opinion that the manning of the Navy was in a satisfactory state—that two successive Governments differing on many important questions were united in thinking that the squadrons maintained by this country abroad were adequate for the purpose for which they were established, and that the number of ships to be kept in commission need not be increased. He hoped they would also see that the charges of chaotic and disorganized administration in the Department were also unfounded, because, otherwise, some changes would have been proposed; and, above all, that they would see that, while the two parties in this country might differ among themselves on the point whether two ironclads should be built or repaired in one year or in two, and whether we should have a few stores more or less, they were agreed upon one vital point—namely, that about 20,000 tons of shipping was the amount that ought to be built annually, in order to repair the deficiency in our Navy, caused by the wear and tear of our ships, and that they would see that Parliament generally was united in being ready to vote the Estimates, large as they were, in full reliance on the discretion of the responsible Minister who thought it right to ask for them. He cordially hoped that with those £10,000,000, which the generosity of Parliament would place at the disposal of the right hon. Gentleman, he would be able to conduct the naval service of the country creditably and successfully; and he felt sure that no one who had a spark of public spirit would wish to see the authority of the Admiralty lowered for a moment by accusing that Department of administrative failure. The right hon. Gentleman and his Board had many points in their favour— they had started in an open sea, and they had a favouring breeze; those clouds had lifted which had overshadowed their predecessors, and had impeded their freedom of action; and they now set out on their voyage with the good wishes of all. He hoped that they would make the most of their favourable opportunity, and he could assure them that they could rely upon his supporting the authority of the Admiralty to the utmost of his power, because he knew the extreme difficulty there was in securing the smooth working of a system of combined civilian and professional administration presided over by a civilian. He cordially trusted that the right hon. Gentleman and his Board upon whom lay such heavy responsibilities, would, as long as they continued in power, be the strong, respected, and authoritative rulers of a contented service and of an efficient Navy.


remarked that it would have been gratifying if the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen) had been as anxious for the increase in the Navy during the years he was at its head as he was now. It would have appeared from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman as though the increase now proposed in the Navy was a mere continuation of that which had been going on for years. But he should wish to remind the Committee of what had fallen from the right bon. Gentleman his Predecessor (Mr. Childers) in making his official statement on the 1st of August, 1870, on the occasion of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He had then stated that we had 28 sea-going ironclads and 12 special harbour defence ships, making a total of 40 in all, fit for going to sea, besides 8 ironclads which were building. At the present moment we had also 8 ironclads building; and, therefore, the ironclads building might be put aside as being equal. The right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord of the Admiralty, had, however, been obliged to tell the Committee that evening that we had at the present moment only 16 sea-going ironclads in addition to 3 in the first reserve, making a total of 19 ships fit for service as against the 28 referred to, as complete and ready five years ago, by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. As far as he could gather there were now only 9 special harbour defence ships as against 12 which existed on the 1st of August, 1870. Even if he were wrong in that supposition it was clear that the number of harbour defence ships as compared with that of the year to which he had alluded had not been increased. He understood his right hon. Friend to say that he proposed to repair 4 additional sea-going ships this year and an equal number next year; but even that rate of progress would only give 27 ships as against 28 we possessed, in August, 1870. [Mr. HUNT said 26.] His right hon. Friend expressed dissent, and he now understood that instead of having but one, they would have two ships less than they had nearly five years ago. It could not, therefore, at all events, be said that his right hon. Friend was making undue efforts in that direction. He quite recognized the fact that, owing to commercial failures in 1866, a large number of men who were thrown out of employment were, rightly or wrongly, taken into the dockyards, and that they were taken in for a particular time and for a special purpose, and that that circumstance accounted for the number of ships in the year 1870—but the fact remained that that number had not been increased. He wished to know whether the Devastation was one of the ironclads ready for sea? Were the Bellerophon and Resistance included in the number? He was glad to hear that his right hon. Friend proposed to revise the condition of promotion in the Navy. The present position of affairs was most deplorable. They had all heard how much the service was injured by the present want of promotion. His right hon. Friend the Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) had contrasted the dissatisfied state of the Marine with the satisfied condition of the Naval service; but he could state that, so far from such satisfaction existing, there never was a time when the officers of the Navy were so little pleased with the prospect before them. It would, he thought, be for the benefit of the service if his right hon. Friend had continued the "hauling down" vacancies, as that system afforded the only process by which young officers obtained promotion; and nothing could be worse than that promotion should be left to take place entirely by seniority. He had so frequently urged the doing away of the Britannia and the establishment of a college on shore, that he was greatly pleased to find his right hon. Friend had it in contemplation to carry out that proposal. He looked with some regret to the additional number of cadets which had been entered—namely, 55, as against 41 added by his right hon. Friend's predecessor. The only way, in his opinion, to make the Navy content was to diminish the number of officers admitted to the profession, and 55 was a greater number than could be advantageously advanced; and on this point he would suggest that warrant officers might be increased with advantage, and employed in the discharge of duties which now devolved upon the cadets. Then as to the admission of boys, the fact that it was proposed to give each boy a kit worth £5—and the proposal he regarded as an excellent one—showed that the service was unpopular as compared with the estimation in which it was held 20 years ago, when every boy paid for his own kit and a sum of £2 as well for entrance, notwithstanding which payments, there was no lack of boys desirous of joining. It would be a great advantage if there were training-ships for the Mercantile Marine, as thereby boys would be fitted for the naval service if required. He was glad to find that the expenditure upon the Dockyards at Chatham and Portsmouth was coming to an end. It had been a most necessary expenditure, and in view of the fact that Germany had completed six docks for the reception of the ships of her Navy, three at Wilhelmshaven and three at Kiel, which were as complete as those at Chatham, and had arranged a Budget providing for the addition to her new-born Navy of 10 first-class ironclads and 60 cruising ships, it behoved the Admiralty to see that they did not fall behindhand. The arrangements made by his right hon. Friend seemed very satisfactory so far; but he hoped that next year there would be no arrears of shipbuilding such as those mentioned that night. 4,000 tons was a considerable amount of arrears, although it had been exceeded in previous years. When they were told some five or six years ago that at least 16,000 tons of ironclads ought to be added to the Navy in each year, and found that in two years only 4,000 tons had been added, he did not think his right hon. Friend was open to the taunt that had been levelled at him with reference to the considerable delay which had occurred.


proposed to say a few words on the general question as to the state of our Navy in relation to the Navies of other Powers, for the purpose of deriving indications of the merits of our policy and of what that policy should be. With regard to unarmoured ships, the indications furnished by foreign Navies were of a most decided character, and he was glad to find that they had been fully recognized by Her Majesty's Government. Those indications were in the direction of great speed in unarmoured vessels. Last year the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just spoken protested in that House against the multiplication of small and slow vessels, foreseeing as he did what was now taking place—namely, the existence of many fast unarmoured vessels in foreign Navies. Yet, at the same time, this country had been inclining in an opposite direction, because, as they were told, one of the means which had hitherto existed for obtaining very high speed——namely, size—was to be set aside for reasons of supposed economy; though, in fact, they were reasons of extravagance. Only two vessels were building for speed. They were both to be built at Pembroke, and were to attain a speed of 16 knots. Foreign Governments were building vessels of a similar type, and only the other day he himself saw in Venice a vessel which, if the intentions of the designer were fulfilled, would go 18 knots an hour. That speed was to be produced when required by some peculiar device of which he did not know the secret. He doubted whether such a high speed would be attained as was anticipated; but it was quite possible there might be some superior genius at work in the matter, and it was worth our attention. He should be glad if the First Lord saw his way to advance a little faster one of the two vessels building at Pembroke. We had taken the lead in the production of purely coast-defence vessels with enormously thick armour. Whatever might be said about the sea-going qualities of the Devastation, there could be no doubt about her fighting powers. With regard to armour-clad vessels also, there were very notable indications derivable from the practice of Continental nations, and one of the most striking of these was the production of purely coast-defence ships with enormously thick armour. There was another class of vessel being very much built on the Continent, particularly by one Power—a class of very fast vessel, with a very limited amount of armour at the water line. He referred more especially to the two fast vessels being built by Russia, which were no doubt well known to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. We were building ships with a speed in excess of that of their predecessors, of the Shannon class, which might be regarded as a type of fast armoured vessels. There was another class of vessel, heavily armoured and armed, and thoroughly capable of going to sea. The Inflexible was a notable and admirable example of that type of ship. The Italians were building two such vessels, and France and other Powers were turning their attention to the same class. What he observed with great regret was, that this ship of the most modern sea-going type was precisely that ironclad of our Navy from which the work had been taken during the past year. The present Estimates showed that whereas the House was encouraged to believe, when last year's Estimates were moved, that there would be a very considerable advance of tonnage—in fact, it had been advanced only one-half of the expected amount. It was deplorable that the sort of services which fell with such constancy upon Portsmouth Dockyard should be performed at the expense of one great modern vessel. He was glad, however, that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to make up for that deficiency, as far as possible, by giving a great degree of advancement to that ship during the present year; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman's intention would be fulfilled. The total deficiency upon the ironclad shipbuilding for the year in the Dockyards was 1,300 tons, and upon unarmoured vessels a total deficiency of 1,200 tons. With regard to the two armoured ships that were to be laid clown, and of which the designs were not prepared, it was to be wished the Committee knew what sort of ships they were to be. The Admiralty was no doubt responsible; but that responsibility ought to be exercised in view of the House of Commons, and not in disregard of it. The dock question was of great importance. There had been launched this week at Pembroke the Dreadnought. From the Land's End to Liverpool there was not a dock capable of receiving either that ship or the Inflexible. He purposely left out the Bristol Docks on account of the navigation; but there ought to be a means of docking Her Majesty's vessels on the west coast. The House had adopted the policy that the Government ought to avoid making costly docks, but should encourage private enterprize. Now, docks were being constructed at Milford, and the privilege of using them was offered to the Government for a small amount. He regretted that the Government did not see their way to the acceptance of this proposal. If a better place than Milford could be found, he would not find fault; but it was impolitic to build ships 200 miles away, and to have no dock in case of war along the whole west coast into which Her Majesty's Ships could put. He observed that there were three "Chief Constructors" of the Navy. Now, the responsibility for the designing of ships was a very serious one, and the House was entitled to know on whom it ought to be placed. For himself, he certainly did not understand how anybody could be saddled with that responsibility if there were three Chiefs in the same office doing the same work. The falling off in the ironclad shipbuilding at Portsmouth had been attributed in part to the Arctic Expedition. But it was highly unsatisfactory that when money was voted for the Arctic Expedition, the ironclad shipbuilding should suffer at the same time. Then, again, a certain number of men were supposed to complete a certain amount of tonnage; but, although the men had been there, and the money voted, the work had not been done. He thought the Government were to be blamed for continuing to bring forward Estimates based on calculations which always proved to be wrong.


regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had thought it necessary to ask for increased Estimates for the Navy, and would be glad to know where the men they were asked to vote that evening were stationed, or in what ships they were employed. It was his impression that a large number of men were employed merely at hide-and-seek—officials looking after officials, and other officials, again, looking after subordinates; and he suggested a great saving might be effected by contracting with private firms more extensively than was now done for the building of our ships. Then as to our Coastguard service, they were asked to spend about £500,000 upon it, though the great object of such a service had long since disappeared. Smuggling was rarely heard of in these days of low tariffs, and what little remained could easily be dealt with by the country police, the water police, and Customs' officers. Yet he saw that they were to spend £25,000 for coastguard houses. He thought, further, that we had a great deal too many Dockyards. We had 16 Dockyards abroad, many of which were obsolete; but all were kept up as in the days when we had a large wooden fleet. The ironclads only carried fuel for four and a-half days; and in case they had a war with America, how were those ships to reach that country? He would suggest the advisability of the Admiralty introducing a regular torpedo system at all the ports and instructing the men of the Naval Reserve in the use of the weapons. Further, he deprecated the construction of any additional ironclads of the type now in existence in the Navy, and urged that the fighting ships of the future would be small, swift vessels, armed with heavy guns.


said, he knew nothing of naval matters and should not attempt to speak upon them. All he wished to urge was that, instead of relying upon the spasmodic action of charity for the provision of lifeboats round our coasts, they should be provided and maintained, where necessary, by the Government out of Imperial funds.


said, that with regard to the provision of stores for the Navy and the Dockyards he was glad to find that the present authorities at the Admiralty were following the example of their predecessors, to whom they also, in the most candid manner, gave credit for having adopted a sound system. With regard to the sale of disused vessels to shipbreakers, he wished to know by whom the sale was negotiated—and why it was not effected either by public auction or by private tender, following upon public advertizement—the course adopted with advantageous results by the prede cessors of the present authorities at the Admiralty. He had long been of opinion that large public Departments could not well discharge the duties of landowners; and therefore he was glad to find that during the Recess a part of the Greenwich Hospital Estates had been sold for good prices. He should like to hear some explanation respecting the increase of the salaries of the master shipwrights in the Dockyards. He hoped the alteration of title would not affect their position in the Dockyards, and that the late divided authority of the principals would not be reintroduced by the present Government. He was pleased to hear that the Government proposed to abolish the Britannia training ship. Its abolition would have taken place two years ago if the late Board had not been occupied with the more important work of establishing a Naval College at Greenwich Hospital. The expense of the Britannia was out of proportion to any benefit connected with it. There were many places more preferable for a site than Dartmouth, if the Government had not finally decided upon it. As to the advantage of transferring cadets to a college on shore, he thought there would be little difference of opinion in the Committee. If he rightly understood the First Lord of the Admiralty, he had no intention of commencing the building of any now vessel by contract. The right hon. Gentleman stated last year that, out of 27 ironclads, 14 or 15 were unfit for service in consequence of their boilers being out of repair. [Mr. HUNT: The terms I used were "not effective for the service of the year in the proper sense."] Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that they could not go to sea at all? Some of the vessels of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke were actually included in the service of the year.


explained that what he meant by "not effective in the proper sense" was that in case of war the ships in question could only perform a certain amount of work in an inefficient manner.


A ship after four or five years' service was not quite so fit as at the commencement of her service. Apart from this, the right hon. Gentleman said four more were added to the list of vessels unfit for service during the past year. But the right hon. Gentleman must recollect that the late Board had provided for the repair of those four vessels. The late Board always admitted that the boilers of a number of ships required repair; and the only question was whether they should be repaired by a spasmodic effort, or whether the repairs should be spread over a number of years, and the arrangement made was that the repair of 12 vessels should be spread over three years. On the whole, he approved of the general policy outlined by the right hon. Gentleman, though he thought the number of men to be employed in the Dockyards was in excess of the normal amount required. The difference between the policy of the late and the present Board was so insignificant that it was not worth while to make any Party fight against it.


said, he could not agree with the remark of his hon. Friend who had just sat down that the number of men in these Estimates ought to be taken as more than the normal number of men required. During each of the past 10 years, he believed, with one exception, the programme of the previous year had never been carried out. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen), when at the head of the Admiralty, stated that 20,000 tons of new shipping was the smallest quantity annually required to meet depreciation and maintain the efficiency previously acquired. But during the last 10 years 20,000 tons had rarely been proposed, and nothing approaching to it had been built in each year on the average. In the present programme, however, it was proposed to build 13,800 tons in the Dockyards and 9,000 tons in private establishments. Consequently, we should get more than the 20,000 tons which were admitted to be the minimum quantity required for the service of the Navy. He thought that more ships should be built in private yards—that would effect a saving in the outlay. He feared that the right hon. Gentleman would hardly be able to fulfil his programme with the number of men he asked for. With respect to the two ships which it was said had been laid down, it was clear, from the fact of only a few men being employed on them, that no progress had been made with them, and no particulars were given to the Com mittee respecting them. With regard to the designs for ships, the only way in which ships could, in his opinion, become formidable in action, was to have a large number of them almost of the same pattern. No doubt there was a necessity to have several types of ships in the Royal Navy; but, at the same time, he thought it desirable to have a large repetition of similar vessels of each type, and for cruising ships he preferred the class of the Alexandra to that of the Inflexible. His hon. Friend (Mr. Reed) said that the Inflexible was a sea-going ship of the future; he (Mr. Samuda) was of a different opinion; and with respect to the Alexandra, he considered her the finest ship in the service. He wished to impress upon the Admiralty to choose the best types of ships. Some reference had been made to foreign ships which had speed of 17 or 18 knots an hour; but he asserted that that had not been done. He did not at all regret the proposed expenditure on Chatham Dockyard; but it was intended to build only 3,000 tons there during the year, and if the interest on the costs of the extension were taken to represent £60,000 a-year it would be a charge of £20 on every ton of shipping built in the year. This was a serious increase in the cost of building our ships. When the Government, in their transactions with private builders, pressed competition to such an extent, they should recollect, from their own experience at Chatham, what great cost private builders' establishments involved, and if the Government accounts were so kept as to show the cost of corresponding expenses incurred in Dockyards for similar matters, the country would know better than at present how much advantage resulted from employing private enterprize, equally with Dock-yards, in the annual additions to the Fleet.


reminded the House that a Naval Power was growing up at our doors—a country determined to have good ships and which had good men to put into them. A struggle with such a Power would be no child's play. He wished particularly to know whether more small coast defence vessels could not be provided, especially gunboats, which exerted a great moral effect in time of war. The Russian gunboats during the last war well protected their shores, while we were now very deficient in this class of vessel, which in the absence of our Fleet, or in case of its defeat, would be very useful. There ought to be at least 100 of them armed with the heaviest guns. Due weight had not been given to the subject of torpedo vessels, and it was the fact that Germany had built or was building a considerable number of these vessels. With regard to the loading of heavy guns, he had heard that was to be done by means of hydraulic pressure, the muzzle of the gun being depressed. Great care in that case would have to be taken lest, while being loaded, the gun should go off and blow the ship to pieces. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Samuda) had stated that 3 per cent would be saved if ships were built by contract in private yards. In his opinion, a very much larger profit than 3 per cent was made by private shipbuilders, and that profit would be saved by building our ships in Her Majesty's Dockyards.


, in reference to Chatham Dockyard, explained that the new works there were not yet available for shipbuilding. A great portion of the extension work was still incomplete, and the part completed was entirely destitute of the machinery and plant necessary for the building of ships. It was now made use of only for the breaking up of old ships. Before the works at Chatham would be available for shipbuilding it would be necessary to make a much larger outlay upon them.


said, he hoped the First Lord would not take all the advice that had been given him. He had been advised to make a great reduction in the Coastguard service. He (Mr. Macgregor) hoped this would not be done, because if smuggling had been to a great extent abolished, it was due to the efficiency of the Coastguard, who were also extremely useful in cases of shipwreck. He trusted, further, that the right hon. Gentleman would not put torpedoes into the hands of all the Coastguard, and allow them to experiment in all the harbours of the country. The consequences of doing so might be very serious. The suggestion put him in mind of a gentleman of his acquaintance who told him he had discovered a new method of extinguishing fires on shipboard, and asked him for the loan of one of his steamers to experiment upon. He did not feel inclined to agree to this, and in the same way he thought the country would not like to lend the harbours for these torpedo experiments.


confessed to a fooling of disappointment. His opinion agreed with that expressed by others, that this year's Estimates were precisely the same as those of the late Government. That was not satisfactory. He did not think that the Estimates came up to the requirements of the country we not only required more ships, but we ought to overhaul those which we had. Were a war to arise we should be placed in a position of great difficulty, Because we should not have enough of ships, and before we could build as many as we wanted we might be taken at a very great disadvantage. He regretted that it was intended to do away with the Britannia, as he thought that boys being trained for the Navy learnt more in six months on board ship than in 1:2 months on shore. He agreed with the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Samuda) that we wanted two types of ships; but he should like to know whether we had yet arrived at the right type of ship. As to coasting vessels we were extremely ill-found. Our Army was being reorganized—in other words, it was in a state of disorganization; there-fore, a double responsibility rested on his right hon. Friend to look well to the efficiency of the Navy, to whose care the honour, the safety, and welfare of the country were specially intrusted.


, in reply, said, he had every reason to be satisfied with the way in which his statement had been received generally by the House. It appeared that he had done what his predecessors would have done had they remained in office, with the exception that he had sold ships by private treaty when they would have sold them by public auction and would not have realized so good a price. There was no mystery about it. The gentleman came to him personally and said he could make a good offer if insured a number of ships sufficient to make the business continuous to employ a number of men for a long time. After consultation with the Controller's Department, he was encouraged to send in a formal proposition; it was referred to the Director of Contracts, who communicated with the Controller's Depart ment, and after a good deal of negotiation with Mr. Castle, an arrangement was concluded, the terms of which he believed would be considered quite satisfactory. In reply to the hon. Member for Pembroke, he had to say that the "chiefest" of the constructors was the Director of Naval Construction; he used to be called the Chief Naval Architect. No definite decision had been come to with regard to storekeepers; he could not say the abolition of them had been a success. At all events, not in the larger yards; but the question was in abeyance, and he had not any immediate intention of making a change. The duties of the engineer had been more clearly defined he was subordinate to the Chief Constructor as regards questions of construction generally, but was the highest authority with regard to engineering matters. The despatch vessels were not to be armoured; but they were to be armed; armour was incompatible with their speed. It had been necessary to increase the number of cadets to make up for the discontinuance of a separate navigating class he had no intention to reduce the Coastguard. Thanking the House for the way in which it had received his statement, he trusted that he should be allowed to take the Vote for the money as well as the Vote for the Men, as there might be no other opportunity of getting the money Vote before the end of the financial year.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £2,636,162, Wages, Seamen and Marines.

(3.) £2,139 7s. 7d, Greenwich Hospital and School, Excess on Grant for year ended 31st March 1874.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee to sit again To-morrow.