HC Deb 04 August 1888 vol 329 cc1589-619

(6.) £1,863,500, Naval Armaments.


said, it would perhaps be convenient to the Committee if he were to state what were the reasons which induced the Admiralty to take over this Vote, and also to enumerate some of the difficulties which were in their way in making the transfer. As the Committee would be aware, in the past the system was that the War Office always bore upon their Estimates the sums provided for naval armaments. The system was that the Admiralty should requisition the War Office and that the War Office should present to Parliament the sum which in their judgment was necessary to make provision for naval armaments. He had described the past practice, in order to make clear to the Committee that it was not a very wise system. The Admiralty used to send over to the War Office a statement of the number of guns which they would require to be provided for the ships, and for each gun a certain amount of ammunition, according to a recognized scale, had to be provided. That ammunition was divided under two heads known as "Outfit" and "Reserve." The War Office then estimated the cost of the gun, and also the cost of providing that amount of ammunition which had to be provided according to the recognized scale. The Estimate was sometimes correct, and sometimes it had to be reduced. It went on to the War Office and became part of the War Office Votes, and not un-frequently it was further reduced, and the result was, that although the quantity of ammunition provided was fixed between the two Departments, there was no system by which the amount of money necessary for the provision of the quantities agreed upon was voted year after year. It was in human nature that when the Admiralty had only to requisition the War Office that there should be a tendency to increase the amount of ammunition to be provided for each gun; and, on the other hand, the tendency of the War Office was rather to decrease the amount of the money provision they had to make for another Department. The Government agreed that a transfer should take place under certain conditions. The War Office undertook to do the work of storing and testing both guns and ammunition, and they further undertook to provide the Admiralty with all information concerning stores and other matters upon which the Estimates were framed. There was a greater difficulty in giving the Admiralty that information in past years. Very often the amount of money taken for naval ordnance and armaments was insufficient, and the Secretary of State for War had to take what was necessary from other items. It was almost impossible, however, in reviewing the intricate and complicated transactions spread over a great number of years, suddenly to furnish that detailed information which his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War hoped last Session would be supplied; but they had a very considerable amount of information, and he would state exactly to the Committee in what respect it was full and in what points it was deficient. They had complete information with regard to the stores at foreign stations, and the outfit and reserve guns there were practically complete. As regarded the home stations, the outfit was complete with the exception of the ammunition for firing guns; but very large orders had been placed this year and last year, and they hoped that the deficiency would be reduced before the close of the financial year. But there was a large deficiency in the home stations in reference to the part of the ammunition known as reserve. What the exact extent was he could not state at the present moment; but there was no doubt that it would be largely reduced before the close of the financial year. It had been quite clear to the Admiralty that if there was the existing deficiency at the commencement of the year they ought to make such provision as would reduce it by the end of that year. Of course, it would have been most unadvisable, in dealing with the existing deficiency, to make an insufficient provision and thus create a prospective deficiency. The cost of naval armaments had very largely increased in recent years. He had before him a table which showed the ratio which the cost of guns and ammunition bore to the ship to which they belonged, and the ratio of percentage had largely increased. He would give one or two illustrations. In the case of the Sultan the cost of guns and outfit was 8 per cent of the cost of machinery and hull; in the case of the Devastation, built about the same time, it was 7.8 per cent. Since then there had been a rapid increase, the ratio being in the case of the Warspite 10 per cent, the Benbow 14 per cent, the Camperdown 16 per cent, the Mersey 19 per cent, and the Archer 20 per cent; and even that percentage showed a tendency to increase. He had had a careful calculation made of what would be the cost of providing three guns and the whole of the ammunition, both outfit and reserve, for all the ships now in course of construction, and he found that on the average the cost of providing guns and ammunition was about 33 per cent of the cost of the hull and engines, or, in other words, about one-third. As he had said, the ammunition was divided under two heads, the outfit and reserve, and the outfit was part of the amount in reserve. For the sake of clearness, he would repeat that, including the guns and outfit and reserve ammunition, the cost of providing the guns was one-third of the cost of constructing the hull and machinery of existing ships. Their shipbuilding programme this year represented in money about £2,600,000, and, according to the calculation referred to, the amount of money necessary to make full provision for the armaments of all ships building or in course of construction would be £860,000. Now the actual amount taken was £1,800,000, so that a very large difference existed between the amount which they provided and the amount required. However, from that margin had to be deducted a certain amount for various expenses. He believed, if they could keep the Estimate at its present high level, that they would very shortly be able to largely decrease the existing deficiency. It was becoming clearer every day that it was not wise to accumulate an enormous quantity of stores which were of a perishable nature. What they had to see was, that there should be an ample supply of those articles which could not be made quickly, and that there was a sufficient supply of perishable materials necessary to meet an emergency. But if the reverse system were adopted of accumulating a large amount of perishable material at the commencement of one year, there would be a large quantity of obsolete material at the close of another. The amount of liability on outstanding contracts which had been handed over to the Admiralty was about £700,000, of which about £400,000 had been contracted for, the remainder representing material which came from Woolwich. Last year, owing to the contractors at Woolwich Arsenal not being able to turn out a sufficient amount of work, the Admiralty had to surrender out of the total Vote no less than £665,000 to the Treasury. If the contractors at the Arsenal at Woolwich had been able to earn all this money, the Admiralty would have been practically able to wipe off the outstanding liability. There having been this very unsatisfactory surrender on the part of the Department this year, the Admiralty would take every precaution against the recurrence of a similar surrender, and therefore he had directed that a larger amount of orders in proportion to the money voted should be put out this year than last year. If all those orders were executed within the year, he might have to ask for a Supplementary Estimate, but that entirely depended on the progress made by the contractors. They accepted, as he had stated in his Memorandum, the responsibility for the sufficiency of the money taken so far as guns were concerned, because they had complete information on the point, and because he had the particulars as to every gun of every ship, including the reserve, either building or about to be built, and the orders had been placed. As regarded the ammunition, the Admiralty could not accept responsibility until they had full and complete information. He had no doubt that they should have such complete information before the close of the financial year, and if then the information showed a larger deficiency than was anticipated, he should not hesitate to submit to the House a Supplementary Estimate.

MR. R. W. DUFF (Banffshire)

said, he was indebted to the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty for the statement made with regard to the transfer of this Vote. He was very glad that the noble Lord had been able to carry out the policy which had been decided upon by his (Lord George Hamilton's) Predecessor, but he admitted that the late Board of Admiralty had not had time to overcome a good many difficulties connected with the transfer of the Vote. It was not any easy matter, and he was glad the noble Lord had so arranged matters between the Naval Department and the War Office, and that the whole of the responsibility for the Navy would be placed on the Admiralty. With regard to this Vote he thought the Committee had some reason to complain that they had not a sufficiency of information from the Admiralty. In this Vote the sum of £460,000 was asked for on account of guns, but the Committee were not told what was the nature of the guns that the Admiralty were going to give them. It was admitted by the Admiralty and the noble Lord the First Lord himself, that there was delay in delivering guns of over 9 inches in diameter. The present Estimates gave no information as to the number of heavy gnus ordered, or when they were likely to be delivered. Now, there was just as much difference between a 110-ton gun and a Nordenfelt gun as between an iron-clad and a torpedo boat. It would be just as reasonable to ask for money for ships without saying what they were to be, as it would be to ask for this Vote for guns without describing them. The Director of Naval Ordnance prepared a complete Estimate. Why should this not be presented to the House? If the Admiralty could not give them all the information, he trusted that in a future case they would be able, at any rate, to give a little more than was conveyed by simply putting down the sum of £460,000 for guns. But there was one point which was rather disappointing in the speech of the noble Lord. Returns had been presented, moved for by the noble and gallant Lord the Member for East Marylebone (Lord Charles Beresford), which showed that the supply of guns was now lamentably deficient. There was one Return of the 25th May, which showed that there were 26 guns short, of over 9 inches in diameter, for vessels built and in course of construction. Then they had vessels coming home from the Mediterranean which would, no doubt, require re-armament. These were the Agamemnon, the Alexandra, the Devastation, the Dreadnought, the Inflexible, and the Thunderer; and he believed that the Orion also would require new guns. Those would require 26 guns of over 9 inches in diameter, and, with a reserve of eight, made a total of 60 guns at least required for the Naval Service. But in discussing the means of producing these guns the Committee would bear in mind that the Navy had to depend upon the same source of supply of guns as the Army. According to the smallest estimate, there were required for the Land Service, and to arm military ports and coaling stations, 100 guns of 9 inches diameter, making, with those required for the Naval Service, a total of 160 guns of 9 inches diameter, which would have to be turned out in the course of three years. Was there any reasonable probability of these being produced in that time? They could only judge by what had been done before. According to the Return presented to Parliament since 1883, our rate of production of guns over 9 inches in diameter had been as follows:—1883–4 we had turned out 12 guns for Naval Service; 1884–5 we had only turned out two guns; in 1885–6, six guns—all for Naval Service—and, admitting that there was a great improvement last year, he found that we had turned out in 1886–7 15 heavy guns for the Navy and five for Land Service. So that in the course of the last four years the number turned out had been 40 guns, or at the rate of 10 guns for every year; but supposing they were able to turn out their guns at the rate of 20 a year, it would take eight years to produce all that was now required to carry out the programme laid down by the Government. He was quoting Official Returns; if they were inaccurate the noble Lord would correct him. Parliament had voted money for military ports and coaling stations, and the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had told them that these would be completed in three years, and, therefore, the guns, he presumed, must be ordered. If they were to come from the same supply as the Naval guns, he asked, how were they to be obtained? He maintained that it was absolutely impossible for the Admiralty to complete their programme if they were to rely upon Whitworth, Armstrong, and Woolwich. This was an important point. He pointed out to the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty, when the Estimates came forward, that they were not taking enough money for guns, and the noble Lord had replied that it was of no use to take more money, because, if they did so, they would not be able to spend it. But he was very glad to read the speech delivered by the noble Lord at Derby, six weeks ago, when he said that if the existing factories failed to meet the requirements of the Admiralty, they must further develop British enterprize. He was entirely agreed in that with the noble Lord, because in his own judgment that was exactly what they ought to do. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) came down, on the occasion of the debate on the Military Report, and assured the House, in a tone of military determination, "that the time for action had arrived." In his simplicity he imagined that the right hon. Gentleman was going to get up and say that when the private firms could not supply the Army and Navy, they intended to go into the market for their guns. That, he respectfully submitted, was the logical deduction from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, "that the time for action had arrived;" but it appeared to him that the authorities were not doing anything to procure the guns which they said they wanted. In this matter he thought the true policy of the Government was to develop the resources of the country, not only as a policy suitable for the moment, but as a policy to fall back upon in case of emergency. They had had some very important evidence upon this matter given before the Army Committee. In the Report of the Committee reference was made by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) to a very important document bearing upon this question—namely, the Report of the Gun Foundry Board of the United States. The United States Government had sent Commissioners to Europe to inquire into the methods of supplying guns for the European Powers. The substance of that Report was given by Mr. Brand to the Committee on which the Secretary of State for War sat. That well-known Gentleman was a Member of the House and had for some considerable time occupied the office of Surveyor General of Ordnance. He thought that the Report laid down a principle which they would do well to bear in mind. It was rather a long paragraph, but he would like to quote it for the information of the Committee. It ran as follows:— As an example of depending alone on Government works, France was a perfect instance before the Franco-German War. During the period referred to, the Government foundries were the sole source of supply of the armament of the country; the officers charged with the work formed a close corporation; their action was never exposed to the public; their ideas were never subjected to criticism; the ingenuity and inventive talent of the country were ignored and resisted, and no precaution was thought necessary to provide a supply in case of need of re-armament. The result is well known; a great crisis came, the Government works were inadequate to meet the additional demands made upon them, and the patriotic efforts of private establishments were inadequate to produce all the material that was needed. How entirely France has now altered her system is shown in a previous part of this Report; her present practice is theoretically perfect, and it has proved to be practically efficient. Her Government establishments are still retained, but as gun factories simply, in which the parts are machined and assembled, but for foundry work she depends upon the private industries of the country, and many of these works have found it to their profit to establish gun factories, which supplement the Government factories to a large extent. That was the policy which France was enforced to adopt, and it was to be hoped that we should never be similarly forced to its adoption; but he thought we ought to do something to develop the resources of our own country, and not simply rely on Government establishments. He had ventured to say this on a former occasion, and when he ventured to suggest that they might give orders to private firms for some of our large guns, the right hon. gentleman the Secretary of State for War said that they did not give them because it would require the expenditure of a largo sum of money in order to lay down plant. He (Mr. R. W. Duff) admitted that, if they gave an order for three or four guns, this might be the case; but he believed, looking at the demand for guns, that it would not be so, if the Government worn in a position to go into the market and encourage industry by giving an order for 30 or 40 guns. He had been assured by those who knew what they were talking about, some of them Members of the House, conducting large steel factories, that if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War or the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty would go to the market and give orders for 20 or 30 guns, they would have some of these private firms competing for them. He had not the least objection to communicate the information which had been given to him to either the noble Lord or the right hon. Gentleman, if they liked to have it. He did not want now to go back to any recriminations as to whose fault it was that the ships were left without guns. They found themselves in a certain state of difficulty. He was not blaming the noble Lord or his Predecessors. They came into Office under extremely embarrassing circumstances; they found the supply of guns short, and the supply of ammunition like wise short. Though he was willing to admit so much, he was afraid there had not been sufficient energy used with the object of getting out of the difficulty in which we were placed; and when the noble Lord spoke of taking so much money regularly for the Navy Vote, he respectfully suggested that before he adopted that policy he must overtake the arrears which had accumulated, because, although the Estimate might be sufficient for the Navy, if we once had it in working order, yet there were large arrears, as pointed out by the Director of Naval Ordnance, before Sir James Stephen's Commission, and, until these were made up, he did not think we should be able to reduce the Vote to what ought to be its normal amount. He had heard something about a Supplementary Estimate, and he ventured to say that, so far from the proposal being extravagant, there could be no policy so extravagant or wasteful as that of keeping first-class ships like the Collingwood afloat for two years absolutely at the mercy of any third-rate cruiser with large guns to which she might be opposed. He had never taken the view entertained by the noble and gallant Lord the Member for East Marylebone as to the insufficiency of the Fleet; but he did maintain that we had not a ship too many, and when the ships that were complete were waiting for guns and were short of ammunition, as he had said, no policy would be more wasteful or extravagant. He trusted that, before the Vote was agreed to, they would have some assurance from a Member of the Government that some energetic step would be taken to supply our deficiencies.


said, he had understood that the Votes to be taken to-day were non-contentious Votes, and the appearance of the House showed that hon. Members thought so too, as they did not calculate upon there being any discussion. He could imagine no Vote either for the Army or the Navy which merited more discussion than that which related to ordnance, particularly as they had before them this more or less scandalous Return which had been presented to the House of Commons. With regard to the remarks which had been made by the noble Lord the first Lord of the Admiralty (Lord George Hamilton), he (Lord Charles Beresford) was sorry that this Vote had not come before the Naval Estimates Committee, because he was quite satisfied that they would have had evidence with regard to it quite as curious and as extra ordinary as that which had been given on the Shipbuilding Vote before that Committee. Some of the remarks made by the noble Lord were eminently satisfactory. For instance, he thought his determination not to buy a large quantity of stores that were perishable was most excellent. He also agreed with the noble Lord's calculation for the purpose of ascertaining the cost of vessels so far as the armament was concerned, which was also very good; but he would like to be quite clear as to whether he included the cost of reserve ammunition as well as outfit?


We do to a certain extent.


There was no doubt that we were short of guns, as shown by the Return, but the Return did not enter into the question of re-arming, and that calculation, he thought, should be brought before Parliament by a Return which he bad promised to move for next Session. There was no doubt that the greatest extravagance was caused by having ships built and finished before the guns which they required were ready for them. The exact opposite ought to be the case; the ships and the guns ought to be ready together, and the pennant ought to be hoisted directly the guns were in position. Not only that, but every ship in these days with heavy guns, in view of the great increase which had taken place in the charges of powder, should have a reserve, and he hoped his noble Friend would assure the Committee that he had got that idea into his head, and that he saw his way to carry it out. It was most imperative that we should have a reserve of heavy ordnance, for the simple reason that the life of a gun was much shorter now than in former times owing to the heavy charge. One question with regard to ships being kept without their guns. He believed that our guns were being made by two private firms—Messrs. Whitworth and Messrs. Armstrong. Did his noble Friend know of any ship built for a foreign country which was kept without her guns when she was ready for sea? He believed that had been the case with the Independencia, but that was the only case of a contract entered into with a private firm for a foreign Government in which the guns were not ready when she was ready for sea. Would his noble Friend assure the Committee whether or no the firms which had entered into contracts to deliver guns at a certain time were delivering any guns to Foreign Governments in the time during which they had promised to deliver their guns to this Government? If his hon. Friend opposite the Member for Banffshire (Mr. R. W. Duff) looked at the Return, he thought he would find that there were nine ships waiting for guns. We were 78 guns short at the date of the Return, and that was a state of affairs which he could not but describe as a scandal. Some of these guns were 22 months, others 12, and some eight months late on the original guaranteed time. The noble Lord, in his Memorandum, stated that a considerable delay had occurred in the delivery of guns in the programme, and that several iron-clads were now waiting for their armaments, and the Dockyard arrangements had been criticized for these delays. He wanted the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty to tell the Committee who was directly responsible for this state of things, because unless they fixed the responsibility on some one, the Committee had no assurance that the same thing would not occur. Further, he asked his noble Friend if there were any pains and penalties to be applied to those contractors who had not delivered their guns in time, because unless they had some sort of penalty in the contract, there was no security for delivery, and it appeared to him that there was no reason why the Government should not do the same as private firms did when they were making contracts. He would ask his noble Friend to tell the Committee what he proposed to do if no stops had been taken in that direction. There were some ships that had not the latest description of guns, and he remembered to have asked his noble Friend to say what he intended to do in re-arming those ships, so as to make them capable of fighting ships with full armaments, and he would like to have some information on that point. The Committee would notice that in the case of the Anson and Immortalité, there were two guns returned as chase-hooped. He objected to having guns chase-hooped. You never could get the officers or the men to rely on guns that had been doctored in that way. He hoped his noble Friend would get rid of those chase-hooped guns. He knew that if he went out shooting with a gun bandaged up with a lot of hoops he should not feel as happy as if it were otherwise. Again, his noble Friend knew that every ship in the world had got Magazine rifles except their own. Now, it was most important that we should have them too, because, for the purpose of illustration, suppose two ships were coming towards each other at great speed; there was only a moment during which the sights of the rifles could be adjusted to take aim, and it was desirable that during that moment the men behind the rifles should be able to make use of as much ammunition as possible. Every nation in the world had appreciated that, and he now brought it under the consideration of his noble Friend. Then there was the question of smokeless powder. He understood that the French had already smokeless powder for rifles, as well as machine guns. Another point was the question of high explosive, and he again called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to the Debate of the 8th of March. On that occasion his right hon. Friend rather twitted him on this question of high explosives, and his words were— My noble Friend wanted a Royal Commission because the French had got a number of melinite shells."—(3 Hansard, [323] 622.) It was one of the points he brought forward to show that a Commission should inquire into the facts, and the point was a most important one, because ships of the Admiral class had a very fair chance before this powerful explosive was put into shells. But now the conditions were altogether altered, when a 30lb. shell charged with melinite was said to be equivalent in respect of explosion and dispersion to a 100lb. shell charged with gun powder. That showed how anxious naval men were to get this matter thoroughly tested, and why they thought, if this substance turned out to be a most tremendous invention for the destruction of ships and life, they ought to spend money at once, so as to place themselves on the same platform with any other nation with whom they might be called upon to fight. The French Government had, he believed, spent £1,000,000 on this melinite. They had not got a single shell over 30 lbs. which was not filled with it, whereas we had not a single shell filled with a high explosive at all, and he thought it would strengthen the hands of the Government if the Committee were now to consider that very important point. The Secretary of State for War, at his request, had appointed a strong Committee to inquire with respect to this high explosive, but he had never been able to find out what conclusion they had arrived at, although he was informed that the Resistance had had her features very much spoilt by an experiment, and had been taken into Portsmouth with some canvas screens on her to hide the effect produced. The Admiralty very properly would not tell him what had occurred. It was proved by the Return, which did not include ships which had to be re-armed, that Messrs. Whitworth and Armstrong were totally unable to supply the guns, without reserves, which the country at that moment ought to possess. It was quite true—there was no doubt in the world that, as the noble Lord had said, we must try to develope the enterprize of the country; but he would point out to the hon. Member for Banffshire that he did not think he would get mercantile gentlemen to start the plant for the manufacture of heavy guns on the mere idea that the Government would buy them. He wanted the Government to say to them—"If you put up the plant to produce guns of 9-inch diameter, and with a certain initial velocity and capacity, we will order a good many." That would only be fair to the man who put up the plant, and he was certain that it would further enterprize to an enormous extent. As the matter stood at that moment it was almost nonsense to think that we were going to get guns any quicker, or much quicker, than we were getting them now if the present arrangements continued. It was quite impossible that the two firms at present engaged could produce all the guns required. He asked his noble Friend if he had observed that in the Report it was stated that the guns returned for chase-hooping had been made at the Royal Gun Factory; and if any guns made at Elswick and by Messrs. Whitworth had been returned? With reference to Woolwich he was strongly against increasing that establishment in any way whatever. Woolwich was necessary to us; but it was, to a great extent, badly organized; it had done good work, but he believed that a good deal of money was wasted by the system under which it was worked. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had made a very satisfactory statement the other day when he said he was going to alter the administration at Woolwich; but he (Lord Charles Beresford) objected to its being increased, as he had said, in any way. He would far rather see a larger number of firms engaged in making guns for the Army and Navy, and he was sure it would be very much to the advantage of the country and the Navy to start that plan. With regard to the reserve ammunition, the noble Lord had told them that this was very incomplete. As far as the ordnance stores were concerned which had been put on board the Fleet engaged in the present most interesting manœuvres, which he was sure would do a large amount of good by enabling the authorities to find out what was weak, his noble Friend said that with the exception of the small gun ammunition he was satisfied with the result of placing them on board. He hoped his noble Friend would be careful to give orders that everything that was found short should be supplied within three months. Under the old sys- tem the War Office gave the Admiralty a list of the stores required, but that was a theoretical and he liked a practical plan, and he would therefore express a hope that his noble Friend would assure him that everything that was short should not be put on paper, but actually taken from store and put on board the ship so that the officers might see them in their places. In a great country like this, in which we had so much enter-prize and invention, we ought to have a council of some sort to devote themselves to the examination of inventions, because he was certain that it would save the country a large amount of money. He believed that the country had on many occasions lost the benefit of inventions through being unable to keep pace with what was going on, because we had not a council of this description to recognize this important question. Such a council would cost very little money and would have secured to the country the use of many valuable inventions. He might mention three cases in which a considerable amount of money would have been saved if such a council had been in existence—namely, the case of the Maxim gun, the Whitehead torpedo, and milinite, of which latter the French now had a large quantity. He put that suggestion forward for his consideration. He had been very glad to notice that his noble Friend had not made use of the old statement, that we were better and stronger than we were many years ago, and he earnestly hoped that they would never hear that argument again. We wanted to know how we stood at the moment with reference to the work that had been done. Of course, we were in a better position now than we were years ago, but that was altogether beside the argument. He hoped his noble Friend would not give them any more Returns such as he had given them relative to the Navy of England as contrasted with the Navies of other countries. With that Return he found great fault in many particulars, but most with regard to the way his noble Friend mentioned the Lord Warden and the Repulse as two line-of-battle ships, because, as a matter of fact, these two vessels were in the auction lists to be sold for old iron. He hoped his noble Friend would give them a Return of the different classes of guns we had in the Navy, because there was an enormous waste going on in consequence of the number of different classes of guns, which he believed numbered 79 or 80. We had not only different classes of guns, breechloaders and muzzleloaders, Armstrong's and Whitworth's, but we had different classes of these guns to the number he had mentioned, the result being a condition of things most puzzling, expensive, and altogether wrong. Therefore, he hoped his noble Friend would give a Return showing how we stood at that moment with respect to guns, because he believed it would strengthen the demand for a larger number of firms to supply the wants of the Government. Then, would his noble Friend tell the Committee who was practically responsible for the Armament Vote of the Navy, because even from what he had just said he could not understand whether it was the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War or his noble Friend? If the responsibility was divided he hoped that would be put an end to. Let there be one man responsible for the guns and ammunition for the Navy. The Navy ought to be able to say—"We want such and such a gun and such and such ammunition. We will put the work up for tender, accurately laying down the conditions;" and then they ought to be allowed to get the gun where they liked. But there must not be this divided responsibility, which promoted friction, and could not be for the benefit of the Service. He would recapitulate the points on which he asked for information. What steps were being taken with reference to the use of high explosives; what steps were being taken to provide magazine rifles for the Navy; was anything being done to supply smokeless powder for rifles and machine guns; what was being done to avoid in future the scandal of ships being without their armaments; and was there any proposal for completing the reserve of heavy ordnance for the Fleet? To save trouble he would hand his noble Friend a list of these questions, and conclude his remarks by saying that his great anxiety to see these things dealt with in a right manner was shared by every one of his brother officers of the Fleet, and who were entirely agreed upon the subject.

MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

said, he did not propose to enter into a controversy as to the particular requirements of the Navy with respect to guns at that moment; but he wanted to point out that there had been an enormous increase in this Vote of late years, a fact which was deserving of the most serious consideration by the Committee. He found that in 1881 the Vote was £418,000, and that the average Vote during the past four years was greatly in excess of the average for the preceding years. The Vote for the coming year was £1,700,000 more than the sum anticipated by Lord Northbrook in 1886, yet only £460,000 was to be spent on guns, while £943,000 was to be spent on projectiles. He could not but hope that the time would come when there would be a very considerable economy made in respect of this Vote. He could not believe, whereas in the three yours 1882, 1883, and 1884, £670,000 had been the average yearly sum required, that in the coming year there should be required £2,100,000. It might be desirable to spend the large sum now asked for in order to bring the Service up to a proper point, but he hoped the time was not far distant when there might be a great economy upon the Vote. He quite agreed that it would be better to encourage private firms than to increase the Establishment at Woolwich. There were many arguments against increasing the Government Establishments and in favour of relying more to meet increasing wants on the manufacture by private firms of guns, of ammunition, and other requirements of our great Services, but his main object was to point out the very large growth of expenditure. Most of it, he believed, had been necessary to bring up the Services to efficiency; but the idea should not be allowed to prevail that that was the normal rate of expenditure, and he hoped soon to see a reduction in the amount of the Vote.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

said, he did not wish for a moment to deny the increase in late years of the amount of the Ordnance Vote. There were certain years between 1882 and 1885 when the Vote was considerably loss than it was at present; but it was partly because of the reductions in those years that an increased demand became necessary in later years to meet deficiencies. But he did not wish to go into that subject; it was rather a fruitful field of political con- troversy. He would avoid all comment in the direction of apportioning blame or responsibility to preceding Administrations, and he recognized that what the country now required was that some reason should be given in justification of the present demands. Addressing himself to the questions that had been asked, he had first to say as to the share of the responsibility of the Army and Navy Departments in regard to the Vote, that it had been fully explained that responsibility could not be absolute and complete until full information had been collected and put into the possession of the Admiralty; and when the Admiralty was in possession of that full information, as soon they would be, then the Admiralty would be in a position to prepare and to vouch for the amount of the Vote for the armament of the Navy. He was asked what steps had been taken towards the issue of the new magazine rifle? He had already stated the cause of the delay, and was sorry to say the trial issue had not yet been made to the Navy. But he hoped it would only he a few days before rifles were selected and issued. No suggestion had yet been made to lead to the belief that any delay would be necessary for the alteration of sights. Experiments with the new explosive shells had been made, and had been, on the whole, thoroughly satisfactory. Several points remained for decision by the experts who were going on with the trials, and speaking for the Land Services, he could say that the new ammunition would add materially to the power of the guns. As to the smokeless powder, that was not in so forward a condition; but experiments were being made, and he hoped and believed that the Committee now sitting, to which his noble Friend (Lord Charles Beresford) had referred, would before long recommend a smokeless powder which could be used for both guns and rifles. Undoubtedly, the largest question that had been raised was in reference to the supply of guns. That ships should be ready, and no armament to put in them, was a scandalous state of affairs. ["Hear, hear!"] He fully admitted that. To that subject the Government had addressed itself, with the desire, in the first place, of ascertaining all the causes of delay and the endeavour to remedy the causes one by one. The first cause was that guns were not ordered in time. There had been cases in which ships were laid down, and the guns for their full armament not ordered until the building was far advanced.


asked, was not that during the period when the Ordnance Department had not made up their minds as to what the guns should be?


said, he did not know that that was so. He found instances in which a portion of the guns were ordered, but not the whole, though, of course, all would be wanted at the same time. But he did not want to enter into this controversy. They had taken care to remedy that cause of delay by laying down the rule that whenever a ship was ordered her armament should be ordered at the same time. Then, again, in the proving of the guns, there had been a fruitful source of delay. There was little reason for that, because there was a fine space available for the purpose at Shoeburyness. They had provided for enlarging the facilities there, and for a reserve ground for proving ammunition, and had hopes that this cause of delay would be removed. A third cause of delay, and it occurred both with the contractors and with the Royal Gun Factory, was the under estimate of the time required for the completion of guns. He did not think that the one or the other was free from blame in this matter; but when his noble Friend asked whether the Government contracts were postponed in favour of foreign orders, he would say, without going into the matter at length, that all contractors employed by the War Department, or likely to be employed, were and would be impressed with the necessity of giving precedence to the English orders. Delay had also arisen from defects discovered in the liners. Undoubtedly liners had failed in many cases, and the failures had been due partly to errors in design and partly to defective material. The failures had caused delay, but it must be admitted that they were not so serious as a failure in the gun itself; for the gun would not necessarily be rendered unserviceable in actual warfare. Yet, he admitted that it was a reflection on the system of designing that called for the close attention of the Government. He hoped and believed that the difficulty in respect to liners was in course of being overcome; he hoped and believed that they had arrived at a design that in future results, in the manufacture of all guns for the Army and Navy, would not give rise to complaints that had arisen in regard to liners of guns during the last two or three years. In future, the penalty that attached to delay in the execution of contracts would be exacted without distinction, unless reasonable ground could be shown for delay. In the course of the inquiry that had been made, no effort had been spared to arrive at a knowledge of the resources of the country to supply guns for land and sea service. The Committee should be aware that the Government did not depend upon Woolwich, though that might have been gathered from some of the speeches that had been made. On the contrary, a comparatively small proportion was derived from that source. A large proportion was drawn from the Elswick and Whitworth works. Inquiry had also been made into the producing capacity of the country generally, and conclusions had been arrived at as to opening new sources of supply. The Government had now full knowledge on the subject; they knew the capacity at Woolwich, at the Elswick and the Whitworth factories, and the difficulties that attached to the production of guns at each. The Government factory might be able to produce many more big guns but for the fact that it was also a repairing establishment for the Army and Navy, and much interruption was caused to the work of production by the machines being used for guns sent for repair. This had to be reckoned upon in the work at Woolwich, and so they were very anxious not to overload that Establishment, but to increase the production by private firms. To create new sources of supply required an enormous amount of capital. The turning out of big guns required much time and expensive machinery, and after all the Government were by no means sure that the new producer had at command the necessary mechanical ingenuity and facilities for the work. Acting on the information they had acquired, the Government had ordered all the guns required for the Army and Navy, or had invited tenders from all those firms who had expressed their willingness to enter into the manufacture, He did not know that more than one or two would accept the conditions attached to a contract; but they had endeavoured to increase the sources of supply to the greatest possible extent. The work of the Department under this head for the last few years might be described as stupendous. In the present year alone, the amount of ordnance stores the War Department was called upon to inspect equalled a value of between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000 sterling, an enormous responsibility for any Department. It was, however, accepted with an earnest intention to discharge the duty to the fullest extent, and he believed the arrangements made would materially facilitate the work, and that the Committee might rest assured that the obligations of the Department to meet the requirements of the Service should be fulfilled so far as it was humanly possible they could be.

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

said, the discussion had hitherto been carried on between officials and ex-officials; but he felt sure that if Parliament was to exercise proper control over the Army and Navy expenditure, that outsiders should pay some attention to details. He felt sure that, with the exception of his noble Friend (Lord Charles Beresford), the Committee was not likely to get effective criticism from ex-officials. He would give his attention to two points raised by his noble Friend in relation to the actual condition of the guns in the Navy at the moment. He was not going to speak of the fact that these guns were generally late in delivery, and that after delivery they often burst; he would draw attention to a more serious question than those—to the great number of different sorts of guns in use in the Army and Navy. He believed that, as a matter of fact, there were no less than 170 different sorts of guns in use in the Army and Navy. Without going into this as regarded the Army, in the Navy there were 70 different sorts, and the variety extended over both old guns and the more modern weapons. Taking the old rifled muzzle-loaders, that formed the great bulk of guns in the Navy, there were 22 different sorts, and coming to later manufacture, and taking the modern breechloaders, the astonishing fact in regard to these was that at the present moment we had in the Navy 28 different kinds. That would be bad enough if those 28 differed so markedly that there could be no doubt as to the ammunition required; but, as a matter of fact, in most instances they differed in the bore by such a minute shade that, in time of warfare, there would be the greatest possible danger of mistake being made in the ammunition sent for the guns. In the 12-inch modern naval guns there were five different "marks," as they were called, every one of them requiring different ammunition, and varying only in the slightest degree. What had been said by his noble Friend, a few minutes ago, would prove to be the fact. In the 8-inch guns there were seven different marks; but he would not say here that every one did absolutely require different ammunition. In the 6-inch guns, again, there were five different marks. If that was the state of the case, it disclosed an alarming state of things indeed, and required correction without delay. As to the responsibility for it, he would not raise that question now, it could be better discussed upon the Army Estimates, and in the autumn there must be a serious inquiry, and if it was not possible to trace the responsibility home to any subordinate, then they must go right up to the head of the office, the Director of Artillery himself. Another question raised by the noble Lord was the responsibility for that Vote. When the Estimates were framed, who was responsible for taking this particular sum of £1,800,000, and who was responsible for the Vote or the day it was presented to Parliament? As he understood, the Secretary of State for War still took a certain amount of responsibility. Was that so?


said, undoubtedly he took a certain amount of responsibility. There was no doubt the War Department would continue responsible as to the manufacturing stage of the guns; and, as regarded the Estimates, they would have a certain amount of responsibility for the stores not separated. There had not been complete division between the Naval and other Departments to enable either to take the exclusive responsibility.


said, what he wanted to get at was the responsibility for the sufficiency of the Vote. In the Report of the Committee it was said the Admiralty was responsible to Parliament for the sufficiency of warlike stores for the Navy. If that was the conten- tion, as it was when the Report was presented, and that was still the opinion of the Secretary of State for War, then for the sufficiency of the Vote the Admiralty was wholly and solely responsible. But, unfortunately, that was not the opinion of the noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty. For, in answer to a Question on the subject, the noble Lord said the Admiralty had only accepted responsibility in reference to Ordnance stores, of which they had full information, and that position was made clear by the departmental correspondence on the subject. To this, however, the Estimates Committee did not appear to attach much importance when they reported that the Admiralty was solely responsible.


said, that correspondence was not presented until after the Report was made.


said, he wanted to know who was responsible for the Estimates when framed, for, as a matter of fact, the Admiralty had no information on which to frame the estimate for the Ordnance Vote. What was the state of facts when the Estimate was presented? The First Lord of the Admiralty said no complete statement of moneys received and expended had been furnished. What did that mean? It meant clearly enough that the Admiralty at that time did not know how the War Office had expended the money received for naval stores. He believed the difference between the money voted by the House in past years for the use of the Navy, and the amount of guns and other stores, which the War Office could account for at the moment, was something over £1,000,000 sterling. The First Lord of the Admiralty said at the time the Admiralty was supposed to be responsible for the Vote, that he had no complete information as to guns at the War Office belonging to the Admiralty, no information as to ammunition and other naval stores, or liabilities incurred, or guns ordered, or the amount that would have to be paid out of the amount provided by Parliament that year. He would like to ask a further question—Was it a fact that the money was asked for at that moment by the Admiralty, without knowledge of the facts of the case and what were the ordinary requirements of the Navy in times of peace, for the accounts had never passed through the Admiralty—was it the fact that the Admiralty cut down the amount that the War Office told them was necessary for the naval ordnance for the year by nearly one-half? The War Office said considerably more than £3,000,000—he believed £3,400,000 was the sum—would be required; but the Admiralty only asked for a little over £1,750,000. He wanted to know, if that was the case, who was responsible, in the face of the opinion of the War Office and without knowledge, for cutting down the Vote by £1,750,000? Was it a fact that the Director of Naval Ordnance—who, at the Admiralty, was the person mainly responsible—had declined responsibility for the Vote? He asked that, because he put a Question to the First Lord of the Admiralty the other day, and the answer he got was an evasive one. Was it the fact that the Director of Naval Ordnance would not accept responsibility for the Vote if it was kept at its present figure? He wished further to know, was it the fact that the First Lord of the Admiralty had, a month ago, sanctioned the expenditure of nearly £750,000 in excess of the present Vote? If that were the case, then he ought at once to submit a Supplementary Estimate to the House. It would not do to go on spending money out of savings. When the Admiralty made up their mind to additional expenditure—especially when it was to the tune of £750,000—a Supplementary Estimate should be presented at once, that the House might know what was being spent. Even at the present moment, the Admiralty had no information of any value from the War Office as to what stores the War Department had on hand belonging to the Admiralty. He believed, as a matter of fact, they had recently obtained information as to guns—that was to say, the Return as to guns was complete—though he believed the Return was more complete than the guns themselves were, and very few belonging to the Admiralty would be found at the War Department. Of ammunition and naval stores, the First Lord of the Admiralty said he had not got information.


Not complete information.


Not complete information was the official phrase, and the Admiralty would not get it until the 10th September. But he rather gathered that the information would not be forthcoming until the end of the financial year. He should like to know whether the date had been postponed to the end of the financial year? It would seem, from what had been stated in answer to Questions, that no accounts had been rendered of the amounts voted and the actual expenditure of the War Office for naval purposes. A sum had been voted in the Estimates for a supply of Morris's Tubes for the Navy, but when the Admiralty required them, there was not a single one to be had. The money had been voted, the tubes were not in stock, and the Navy had not had them. He hoped some information on matters of this kind would be forthcoming. There appeared to be somebody at the War Office who did not understand his duty in regard to War Office expenditure for Admiralty purposes. One other thing he would mention to show how this difficulty affected, even in small things, the condition of the Admiralty at the present moment. He had asked a Question of the noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty, about a month ago, as to what ammunition there was in store for the 111-ton guns in the Benbow, he (Mr. Hanbury) having the best possible information that the ammunition in store for these guns was of a very limited character. He would not go so far as to say that there were only seven shells in existence, but there were not much more, and what there were were of an experimental character. The noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty, in reply, told him that there was an ample supply in store. He desired to ask the noble Lord, who gave him that information? Did it come from the War Office or from the Admiralty? He had reason to believe it incorrect, for within the last few weeks the first contract given out for the ammunition for the guns in the Benbow was given to Messrs. Armstrong, and before that time none whatever had been supplied. He thought it most important that even if they could not fix responsibility upon individuals in the Government Offices, at any rate, when a Vote was presented to this House, they ought to know for a certainty what Department was responsible for it. At the present moment, however, it was utterly im- possible, from what had been said by the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty on the one hand, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War on the other, to tell upon whose responsibility they were going to vote the money. He did not think the time of the House had been wasted in discussing this matter if only they could get out clearly, either from the right hon. Gentleman or the noble Lord, how this matter stood—whether the Admiralty in putting forward this Vote had any information to go upon as to what were the amounts of ammunition in store in the hands of the Navy and War Office? They ought to get some information as to whether it was the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty or the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War who was responsible.

SIR WILLIAM PLOWDEN (Wolverhampton, W.)

said, he did not think the Committee was in a satisfactory position with regard to the Vote they were discussing. It certainly seemed to him that the observations of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Charles Beresford) were most justifiable, the Government having no business to bring forward this Vote at the present time. They might have dealt with this as a matter on account, and they had no right to ask the House to vote such a large sum of money straight off. What was the position of the House in this matter? They had been told in debate by the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord George Hamilton) that he assumed responsibility for the sufficiency of money for the guns, but not for the ammunition; then, on the other hand, they had the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) telling them that he had been partially responsible for the framing of these Estimates; but, at the same time, they heard from both these officials that they were neither of them thoroughly well aware as to what was the ammunition to which they were called upon to vote, there being at present no reserve in store. It was impossible that satisfactory Estimates could be framed when there was no satisfactory basis upon which to go. It was clear that the information they possessed was sadly deficient. No doubt the Government were doing their best to relieve themselves from the serious difficulties by which they were surrounded; still the position was altogether unsatisfactory. He had been very much interested in the remarks which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, especially when he turned his attention to the subject of the liners of the coast. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman, in connection with that subject, whether he had considered the possibility of doing without these objectionable liners? He (Sir William Plowden) asked that question because he was given to understand, on high authority, that guns of large calibre were absolutely in use in our Colonies without liners, and that experts were quite satisfied with the condition of those guns. They considered that the liners were a sort of insurance enabling them to look forward to a longer life for the guns; but considering what great demands were made upon our military strength, it was perhaps not desirable that we should look forward to a very extended life for guns of this description, if in order to insure this long life we had to undergo the inconvenience of these liners constantly failing us, not in consequence of the weakness of the guns, but through the fault of the liners themselves. If it was the experience of the Colonies that those large guns could be used perfectly well without liners, he trusted that the responsible officers at home would be able to accept that view. There was another matter to be carefully considered—namely, the insufficiency of our naval armaments and the almost impossibility of supplying the needs we have in the short time which was before us. As he understood the Vote before the Committee, they had now £400,000 and odd to spend on guns, and a much larger sum to spend on ammunition. This £400,000 and odd was not at all sufficient to provide our naval equipment, and a much larger sum than that had apparently been taken, if we were to trust what had been told them just now as to what happened in the Admiralty and War Office—much larger sums than had been estimated for had actually been expended in construction. He hoped that some Authority from amongst those in Office would give them an assurance, first of all, that the ammunition stores now in existence were thoroughly overhauled, and that the Government were fully aware of what their present position was, and, in the next place, they had provided, or were providing now, for the safety of our country, especially in regard to our naval guns.

MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)

I beg to move, Sir, that you now report Progress and ask leave to sit again.


called upon Lord GEORGE HAMILTON.


I should like to make a short reply to the hon. Baronet who has just sat down, and the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury). I think that both the hon. Baronet as well as the hon. Member for Preston have been somewhat hypercritical in some of their observations. A great transfer has taken place from one Department to another as to responsibility for this Vote, and the result in that transfer had been to solve a certain number of difficulties and to place other unsolved difficulties in a position in which they are much more likely to be solved than they would have been if the transfer had never taken place. Therefore, we stand in a better position than we should have been in if the transfer had not been effected. But when transfers of this kind take place in a Government Department it is utterly impossible at once to allocate every particle of responsibility to one authority in regard to that for which hitherto two Departments have been held responsible. I do not feel responsible so far as the adequacy of the stores is concerned, for hitherto I have not had full information upon the matter, although I hope to have it by the month of September. The transfer was deliberately made before full information was obtained, because we believe that by making the transfer, even in the absence of complete information, we should be taking a step which would bring about a solution of the difficulties I have enumerated. We have, however, sufficient information concerning the stores to make one thing perfectly clear—namely, that the Vote we are taking is far more than is necessary to meet the normal wants of the year.


As regards stores?


Yes; as regards stores. And we have acquired this further information since the Vote has been under consideration—that the amount of money taken last year was more than Woolwich could earn. That being so, I have taken the course which common sense would suggest, and have given a larger number of orders than last year in order that the contractors may, if possible, earn the sum that has been taken. I cannot yet say that we shall want a Supplementary Estimate. It is likely I shall not; but, if the contractors perform their work more quickly that they did last year, we may want one. Until, however, it is proved that the money will be required, it would be a waste of time to ask the House to vote it. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) is responsible for the manufacture and storage of guns and ammunition, and the Admiralty is responsible for the demands made by the Navy. The hon. Member for Preston has very much over-stated the lack of information from which he says we are suffering. We have complete information concerning everything except the reserve of stores in Home waters, upon which subject, it is true, we have not complete information. We have every gun that is required for every ship built or in course of construction. We have, however, this year, 28 heavy guns, and that number has been in process of construction. Eighteen more have since been ordered, making 46 heavy guns of about 9-inch calibre, and the total number of guns in course of construction is 273, which does not include quick-firing guns. Then what my hon. Friend went on to say was rather to complain that we ought not to have brought about the transfer until we had complete information, not only as to our liabilities, but as to the operation of all moneys voted in the past. But if we had waited for that information, we should have been obliged to postpone the reform which has been brought about for a year. It seemed more practical to us to accelerate the great necessary reform, even though the transfer it involved had to be carried out without complete information as to details. Then I am asked as to the variety of patterns of guns in the Service. The one subject to which the Board of Admiralty and the Director of Naval Ordnance pay great attention, is the desirability of not introducing any gun of a new calibre in the Service unless it is absolutely essential. But what my hon. Friend has called different calibre is really different marks of the same calibre. Many guns, though the same calibre, have different marks of different calibre, so that guns, though marked the same calibre, may not really be the same calibre.


You may put too strong a charge into a particular gun.


Of course you can do that, and, if you did, of course the result might be disastrous. But my hon. Friend assumes that all the charges for these guns are made up according to the calibres of the guns, and that they are conveyed to the ships carrying guns of a certain calibre altogether irrespective of the class or mark of gun supplied. But that is not the case. My hon. Friend has been misled in this matter. There always will and must be different marks to different guns, each mark being supposed to indicate an improvement upon that which preceded it, and, of course, the ammunition is supplied to a gun according to its mark. There are five marks of 12-inch guns, for instance, each requiring a different ammunition. Of course, care is taken when the marks are interchangeable, to see that the ammunition is interchangeable. I endorse all the remarks made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War. We feel that until the Ordnance Vote, both for the Army and the Navy, is finally brought into a satisfactory state, the efficiency of both Services will be seriously impaired. It is our duty to give our constant attention to improving and perfecting the system which is in force. To that task we are giving our best attention, and I am confident that when this Vote comes before the House next year, the statement I will have to make will be more satisfactory than the present.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I desire to make an appeal to the Committee. It will be a matter of very serious inconvenience to the Public Service unless we get these Votes almost immediately, and certainly in the course of the present Sitting. I earnestly, therefore, entreat hon. Gentlemen to be so good as to reserve any further observations they may wish to make upon this Vote, and the others which follow it, until the Report stage, when they will have an opportunity for discussion. Great inconvenience to the Services will ensue if we do not get the Votes this evening. There is an absolute necessity for them; and I, therefore, trust that hon. Gentlemen will assist the Government in obtaining them.


I move to report Progress, in consequence of the understanding entered into with the Government this morning that a certain time to-day should be devoted to the discussion of Scotch Business.


It is possible that the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury may succeed, and, therefore, it would be unnecessary for the hon. Member to move to report Progress.

Vote agreed to.

(7.) £119,500, Medical Establishment and Services.

MR. W. G. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Penryn and Falmouth)

said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) to say that hon. Members would be able to go into these matters on Report; and by that he understood the right hon. Gentleman to imply that the Report stage would be put down at an early period of the evening.


Yes; as the Second Order on Monday.

Vote agreed to.

(8.) £376,300, Works, Buildings and Repairs, at Home and Abroad.

(9.) 55,000, Scientific Services.

(10.) £721,000, Reserved and Retired Pay.

(11.) £743,600, Naval Pensions and Allowances.

(12.) £168,500, Widows' Pensions and Compassionate Allowances.

(13.) 330,800, Civil Pensions and Gratuities.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.

Committee to sit again upon Monday next.