1. Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £5,386,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of the Contract Work for Shipbuilding, Repairs, and Maintenance, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st March 1897.
*MR. WILLIAM ALLAN (Gateshead) moved, "That Item A (Propelling Machinery for Ships), be reduced by £100,000." The hon. Member observed that in the time of the late Administration he directed attention to some unprecedented engineering in connection with Her Majesty's ships. At that period this unprecedented piece of engineering was put into the ships without sufficient trial and in direct opposition to the recommendations of the Boiler Committee appointed by the Government Since then they
had had some practical experience of the working of the Belleville boilers which were now being put so largely into Her Majesty's vessels. Two years ago, speaking on this subject, he directed attention to a vessel called the North West, which was fitted with this type of boiler in America. It was lauded as a boiler capable of very good work and which was going to be the precursor of quite a revolution in steam generators. But what did they find when the American Government were invited to adopt these boilers? What did the American Bureau of Engineering do before they entertained the question at all? They did what any sensible Government ought to do. They appointed a board of naval officers to travel with the North West and report to the Bureau of Engineering. In his annual report to this body Chief Engineer Melville, after most careful observation, dealt with the use of water tube boilers in the Navy. While admitting the necessity for a type of boiler lighter than the Scotch or cylindrical fire tube pattern, and the success of a large number of water tube boilers on shore, he said:—
No single type has yet made its appearance which can be regarded as an altogether satisfactory substitute for the Scotch pattern, and for this reason the Bureau has not recommended their use in the larger and more important vessels, believing it better, for the present at least, to confine them to torpedo boats, gun boats, and the smaller cruisers. Conservative as this Bureau may be regarded upon this subject, it has been in advance of every marine engineering establishment in America, for while private firms refused to guarantee a water tube boiler for naval purposes, the Bureau insisted upon their installation as a part of the power in the coast defence vessel Monterey.
That would show how, before the American Government entered into any experiments at all, or any squandering of public money, they investigated the whole reports concerning these boilers as fitted into the North West, and they successfully showed, from their engineers' observation and report, that they were utterly unfit for adoption on war ships. Coming to the experience in this country, there had been running for some time, between Newhaven and Dieppe a vessel called the Tamise, sister ship to the Seaford, which foundered during a collision. The Tamise was fitted with the Bellevile boilers, and if they had
been a success the company owning the vessel would have continued their use. But what was the fact? They had ordered a second vessel and she was to be fitted with the ordinary boilers.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
The same company have just ordered a sister ship to the Tamise with Bellevile boilers.
§ *MR. ALLAN
replied that that was perhaps a French purchase. He would come to the fairest test of this type of boiler that Britain had. The Member for Hull, to whose earnest endeavours to advance and progress he gave every credit, fitted the Bellevile boilers into one of his vessels called the Ohio. Four such boilers were put in, the aggregate horse-power of which was to be 1,600, and the vessel with that horse-power and from her displacement and lines should have had an average speed of 13 knots. What was the result? On her first voyage the Ohio left Hull on 28th April, and she arrived at New York on 18th May. She left New York again on 28th May, arriving at Hull on 13th June, where she was detained for five weeks for repairs before she could proceed on a second voyage. At the end of her second voyage, which was somewhat similar in point of time occupied, the vessel was laid up for seven weeks requiring repairs to her boilers. In one of the voyages out, a tube burst and a fireman was scalded. This unfortunate accident was not entered in the official log, and because of this omission a prosecution ensued before the magistrates at Hull and the captain was fined. All through her voyages the average speed of the Ohio was only 7½ knots an hour. Her last voyage appeared to have been a very singular one indeed. On that occasion she arrived at Boston on the 3rd April last. He would quote from a letter written by the chief engineer of the vessel, and in face of the statements it contained he would ask were the Admiralty justified in running such a risk as that which was incurred by the adoption of this type of boiler? This gentleman wrote from Boston, 3rd April:We anchored off here late last night. We have had quite an eventful voyage again. I am pleased to say no one was injured, although one of the slit tubes would seriously have hurt anyone had they not just left the spot. In his case the tube gave out with a boiler full of water, and 157 220 lbs. pressure blowing the whole of the fire, and part of the bricks right across the stokehole. I now give you a list of the mishaps on voyage. The most serious trouble was caused by the automatic feed gear going wrong at 2.30 a.m. on 30th March. The water was gone—the tubes were red hot before we got the fires drawn. It took us until 7.45 p.m. of the 31st to get the boiler under steam again, and two hours after-wards the burst took place.These were the boilers with which they were now fitting the ships of the Navy at an enormous expenditure of money and at imminent risk to their brave seamen. Every day, almost, that the Ohio was at sea, there was an accident with the boiler:, and yet, forsooth, the Admiralty were adopting this very boiler, which could not be depended upon, and which lacked the first element that was always deemed essential—namely, safety. He now came to the Sharpshooter, which was originally fitted with locomotive boilers. These were taken out and eight boilers of the Belleville type substituted. Certain rumours got about respecting the boilers, and under pressure the late Government consented to have some trials of their efficiency. He never saw a more unengineer-like report than that which had to be sent out respecting the trials of these boilers. The longest time the vessel ran on the trials was only 69½ hours. The average indicated horsepower given out by the engine was 1,788 instead of 4,000. There were eight boilers guaranteed each to give 500 horse-power, or an aggregate of 4,000, but the average indicated horse-power on the whole of the trials was only 1,788, whilst the number of boilers used was only six. The fact that only six boilers were used implied a want of confidence in them. Why were not eight steamed? The average indicated horse-power of each boiler instead of being 500 was 298. The Sharpshooter got less than half the horse-power that should have been obtained from her boilers. If all the boilers had been used the maximum power would not have been obtained. A member of the late Administration told him the Sharpshooter could not run on account of the vibration of the engines, which prevented full power being got from them. The Chief Constructor of the Navy, Mr. W. H. White, in a paper 158 read before the Institute of Naval Architects in 1892, said on this subject:—We have made careful and extensive observations of the character and extent of their vibratory movements, and have established the fact that those movements never exceed very small limits. Further, we have by actual measurement established the fact that the greatest vibratory movement (which is actually very small) occurs at quite moderate speeds of the engines, when very small powers are being developed, and at the higher power the vibration is less.Then he says:—This is a sufficient contradiction to the allegations of restricting power because of supposed structural weakness.The Chief Constructor of the Navy did not admit structural weakness or vibratory motions. Why, therefore, was not the full horse-power, 4,000, obtained during the so-called trials of the vessel? The Chief Engineer of the Navy had shown that the statement that Belleville boilers were lighter and more convenient for the Navy was fallacious and misleading. Belleville boilers were heavier than ordinary boilers. The Chief Engineer of the Navy said that the weight of the original boilers was 94.3 tons, and of the Belleville boilers 124 ½ tons. The peculiarity of this was that the horse-power per ton of the old boilers was 30.1, and with the Belleville boilers, with which the Sharpshooter was fitted, only 21. Mr. Durston, the Chief Engineer of the Navy, said:—As regards the working capabilities of this type of boiler, immunity from leaking tube ends, and readiness with which steam can be raised, and the absence of all special precautions, are points in their favour. On the other hand, the small quantity of water in them and the rapid evaporation entail considerable attention in feeding; further, their steam space is not great, and care has to be taken to avoid priming, the small diameter of the tubes precludes the use of salt water for feed, and further, these boilers exhibit a greater disposition than the water-tank boilers to prime if any cause gives rise to it. In the Sharpshooter, the boilers of the locomotive type have been removed and replaced by eight water-tube boilers of the Belleville type. It cannot be said that any increase in horse-power per hour has accrued on this account… It is seen that an increase in weight is involved by their installation.He did not bring forward this Motion from a Party point of view. It was above Party altogether—["hear, hear"!]—it was a 159 national question. He could truly say no one had advocated a stronger Navy or defended naval expenditure more than he had, but when they put boilers into their ships upon which they could not depend, what was the use of them? They did not know that at any moment an accident might not happen. The boilers held so little water that the danger of their bursting was all the greater. The boilers had to be filled with fresh water. If salt water was admitted and pumped into the boilers the natural result was that the salt adhered to the interior of the tubes and they got red hot. The best ship for blockading in time of war was a ship that burned the least coal and that could be depended upon to go full speed when required. We should be able to get the full horse-power out of our ships at any moment. If we could not do that our ships were liable to be run down and captured by vessels that full power could be obtained from. The Columbia cruiser steamed from Southampton to the American coast in 6½ days. The Terrible and the Powerful were fitted with Belleville boilers, and the Committee would be treated to the usual laudatory phraseology as to their satisfactory trial trips of three and six hours' duration. These were not really trial trips at all. No shipowner in Great Britain would consider a run of three or six hours a satisfactory trial.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said trips of three or six hours were contractors' trials. It was not fair to speak of such trials as if they were trials to determine the character of the ship.
§ *MR. ALLAN
asked if the Powerful and the Terrible would be steamed from Portsmouth as far as their coal would carry them?
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
replied that they would be subjected to exactly the same trials as other ships.
§ *MR. ALLAN
said Her Majesty's ships never again went at full speed after these trial trips. The maximum horse-power should be obtainable from them at any moment. The Powerful and Terrible were fine ships, but this could not be suddenly obtained from them. Twice as many coals were burned on board a man-of-war as in a merchant 160 vessel without such satisfactory steaming. Seeing the millions of money that were spent on the ships of the Navy, he considered he was doing his duty, not only to his constituents but to the House and the country, in calling attention to these matters. Turning to the financial aspects of the question, he asked what amount of money had been paid by the Government in royalties in respect to these boilers? How many thousands had been spent without their ever hearing of it? We paid a royalty of 2s. per square foot of heating surface, and had paid between £15,000 and £16,000 in royalties on account of the two ships the Powerful and the Terrible. Why should the taxpayers be called upon to pay such vast sums in royalties for a thing that had never been tested or proved satisfactorily at sea? The money was being absolutely squandered, and we were not getting value for it. Then he would like to know the amount that had been paid in extras beyond the contract prices for these two boats—how much had been paid to each firm beyond the contract price, and where was the money in the Navy Estimates? We were paying dearly for our whistle; and he would not be satisfied until he knew the amounts paid in royalties and in extras. We were risking millions of money before satisfactory experiments had been tried by the Admiralty in any shape or form. No engineer could say the Admiralty had instituted one fair, honest ocean trial of these boilers. When the trial performances of the Ohio took place, the agent of the boilers in this country did not publish the results because they were not what they expected. He challenged the First Lord of the Admiralty not to put him off with stereotyped phraseology, but to meet his facts and to answer his inquiries; and he concluded by moving to reduce by £100,000 the item in respect of propelling machinery for Her Majesty's ships and vessels.
§ MR. FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, Shipley)
said there were points connected with this question which had not been mentioned in the important speech they had just heard. The item of £2,300,000 for propelling machinery, including boilers, was the largest in the Vote, and was the most debateable in the Estimates. The other items related to matters that were more 161 or less known; this dealt with matters that were unknown, and were entirely in the region of experiment. Formerly improvements in marine engines were initiated and developed in the Mercantile Marine; and when they had been thoroughly tested they were transferred to the Royal Navy. This had happened in the case of the pressure of boilers advancing from 5 lbs. to 180 lbs., and also in the case of compound engines; but it had not been so in the new departure taken in the adoption of water-tube boilers. We found the Admiralty ordering boilers of an untried character, which had not been tested by experiment in the Mercantile Marine. In 1892 this item was the largest and the most debateable in the Estimates. Formerly improvements in marine engines were thoroughly tested in the Mercantile Marine before they were adopted in the Navy. In 1892 the Admiralty appointed a Boiler Committee, consisting mainly of engineers, but dominated by an Admiral; of the engineers, two belonged to the Admiralty, one to Lloyd's, one to the Board of Trade, and one to the P. and O. Company. The Committee recommended that two vessels should be fitted with water-tube boilers for experimental purposes, and if the trials proved satisfactory they said they would recommend an extended use of the boilers. What did the Admiralty do? He agreed that it was a matter with which Party had nothing to do. The Admiralty of the day, represented by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) and the hon. Member for Clitheroe (Sir U. Kay-Shuttleworth), without waiting for the Report of the Committee, without waiting for the second vessel to be experimentally fitted, while only one was fitted, and before even that one had been tried, gave orders for these tubular boilers to be supplied to the Navy. With the old and rejected boilers this vessel actually developed 3,500 horsepower. The Chief Constructor, in a paper before the Institute of Naval Architects, stated that the Sharpshooter attained a speed of 20 knots with 3,500 indicated horse-power. Any defects in the report of the trial of the new boilers were due to the circumstances of the trial rather than to the engineer charged with making the Report. The trial lasted 69½ hours, and the maximum 162 speed, which he preferred to take rather than the average, was 16.1 knots, the horse-power developed being 2,194. Those boilers developed less than two-thirds of the power of the old rejected boilers which had been taken out of the ships. The maximum speed was 16 knots with the new boilers, as compared with 20 knots with the old boilers. The House had the advantage of the membership of several hon. Gentlemen who were connected in high places with the Mercantile Marine—the hon. Baronet the Member for Greenock (Sir T. Sutherland), whose company, the P. and O., were building five of the largest and highest class of steamers; the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Cayzer), the Chairman of the Clan Line; the hon. Member for Perth (Sir Donald Currie), Chairman of the Castle Steamship Company; and the hon. Member for East Belfast (Mr. Wolff), who, besides being the Chairman of a steamship company, was the builder of the best and finest vessels of the Mercantile Marine. He asked whether a single one of those Members would rise in his place and say that he intended to have any of his ships fitted with water-tube boilers. If any of those hon. Members would bear that testimony to water-tube boilers he would admit that the action of the former Board of Admiralty, which was perpetuated by the present Board, would be justified, but he was sure no such assistance would come to the Admiralty on this technical question from any of the hon. Gentlemen he had named.
§ MR. CHARLES H. WILSON (Hull, W.)
If the hon. Gentleman would include me in his list I would tell him that we are employing more water-tube boilers.
§ MR. FLANNERY
That is the hon. Member for Hull, who rose in his place and supported the action of the late Board of Admiralty. I would ask the hon. Gentleman, has he in the three vessels he is having fitted, perpetuated the type of boiler which he took the responsibility of recommending to the House two years ago?
§ MR. C. H. WILSON
May I explain? My recommendation of water-tube boilers did not refer to any particular class of boiler. I do not think I ever mentioned the name Belleville 163 boilers, because I had no experience then of them, but I have now the experience of three years' sea service of Belleville boilers and another class of boilers.
§ MR. FLANNERY
The hon. Gentleman has not answered my point. He now states that at the time he recommended the boilers to the House he had no experience of them. [Cries of "Order!" and laughter.]
§ MR. FLANNERY
said the hon. Member was still wandering wide of the point. [Cries of "Order!" and laughter.] Two years ago the hon. Gentleman took the responsibility of endorsing the action of the Board of Admiralty, and he now stultified himself by admitting that at that time he had no experience of the class of boilers he recommended. [Laughter.] Would the hon. Gentleman controvert his statement that there was not a Member of the House who was managing a great ocean-going line of steamships who would say that his experience of water-tube boilers enabled him to recommend those boilers?
Order, order! I think it is very inconvenient to carry on a Debate in this fashion. [Laughter.] At the end of the hon. Gentleman's speech the hon. Member for Hull will have an opportunity of replying.
§ MR. FLANNERY
said that as an engineer he believed that water-tube boilers had enormous advantages, and they would become generally adopted in the Navy, as well as in the Mercantile Marine. ["Hear, hear!"] That was his belief from theoretical consideration; but no theoretical consideration would justify the fitting out of 26 vessels now being built for the Navy with those boilers. The proper course would be to have those boilers fully and thoroughly tested before they were adopted for general use, and he urged the First Lord of the Admiralty to appoint another Boiler Committee in order that that test might be effectively carried out.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said that the hon. Member who initiated the Debate stated he would place nothing but facts before the 164 Committee. But the hon. Member began with an error of fact. He stated that the company which had the Tamise fitted with those boilers were so dissatisfied with the result that they did not intend to fit any more of their ships with the same kind of boiler. As a matter of fact they had just written a complimentary letter to the maker of the boilers, saying they were so successful that they would have another ship fitted with them. That was a specimen of the way in which hon. Gentlemen omitted to mention anything that told against them. ["Hear, hear!"] In reply he might say that nothing would be more convenient for the Admiralty than that they should be able to shift the responsibility that attached to them to other shoulders, or he might say on behalf of the Admiralty that this policy was initiated by their predecessors and that they were bound to carry it out. But what the Admiralty had to consider was the position of the moment and how far it differed from the position when the late Government was in office. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down complained of the inadequacy of the experiment which had been made with those boilers. Within the next two months the Terrible and Powerful would be fitted with those boilers, and the hon. Gentleman would see that if those ships were successful the recommendations of the Boiler Committee would have full authority. The Committee must feel, notwithstanding the ability with which the two hon. Gentlemen had presented their case, that this was an extremely technical question. It was possible that there were a large number of hon. Members who felt themselves at a loss to decide who was in the right on these technical questions; and the great ability and knowledge of engineering questions with which the two hon. Gentlemen had just spoken enabled them to put their case cogently before the House. But why did not the hon. Member for Gateshead, who took such a real interest in this subject, argue his case before the Institute of Civil Engineers, where he could meet the engineers of the Admiralty? Surely it would be wise for gentlemen with such great engineering knowledge to lay their arguments before such a tribunal. The Government were asked to appoint 165 another Boiler Committee; but they had the verdict of the last Committee, which recommended the course now being adopted. If the trials of the Terrible. and the Powerful, which were about to take place, should be unsatisfactory, there would be a strong case for a Committee; but if, as hoped and had every reason to believe, those two vessels should realise in every particular the expectations which had been formed, he doubted whether the House would desire, or whether it would be wise to desire, that there should be further delay in fitting these boilers to Her Majesty's ships. ["Hear, hear"] A great deal was made by many critics of the fact that these boilers were not adopted by the Mercantile Marine, who had hitherto shown the way to the Navy; and it was urged that the Admiralty should wait to see why the Mercantile Marine had not adopted the boilers. But the water-tube boilers—and the Admiralty were not specially wedded to the Belleville type—had many advantages for strategic and belligerent purposes which the old boilers did not possess, and these advantages, of course, were not realised by the Mercantile Marine. One of these advantages was that steam could be got up in an hour where with the other boilers it would take six or seven hours. That was an enormous strategic advantage. The hon. Member had objected to an Admiral being associated with engineers in the Inquiry as to the best form of boiler. [MR. FLANNERY:" I said dominate.'"] He did not know what engineers generally were, but it would be an uncommonly clever man who could dominate the Chief Engineer of Her Majesty's Navy. [Laughter.] That gentleman had orginally to be persuaded that the water-tube boilers were the best; but finally he had the courage to admit that for naval purposes they were superior to those which had hitherto been used. And as to the domination of an Admiral, the Admiral must have a great deal to say to these questions. For if the engineers thought that the merits of the two types were pretty nearly equal, but that one type offered the advantage of getting up and shutting off steam quickly, and of being easily cleaned, then the naval view of those advantages ought to be fairly considered. 166 The Committee must realise that the conditions under which the great shipowners conducted their lines were totally different from those under which the vessels of the Navy were used. Some hon. Members seemed to think that on a man-of-war everything should be subservient to the rapid steaming over an enormous distance. The test was to be going full steam across the Atlantic. [Mr. W. ALLAN: "When called upon."] But that was not the ordinary call. The Admiralty believed that their ships could do it, and they had done it; but there were many other conditions to be considered. Men-of-war were continually steaming at varying speeds according to the nature of the manœuvres, while ships in the Mercantile Marine generally steamed at a uniform speed all the voyage. Therefore it was impossible to accept the proposition that because the Mercantile Marine adhered to the old type of boiler the new type was unsuitable for the Navy. The Admiralty were taunted with having gone forward without sufficient experience. But the matter had now been laboured for three or four years. It had been a question of continual inquiry, not only in England, but in France, Germany, Italy, and Russia; and was the Admiralty simply to stand still and wait for the action of the Mercantile Marine when these water-tube boilers were approved by those responsible for the boilers in Her Majesty's ships, and when nearly every country with which we might possibly be at war was putting water-tube boilers in to its ships of war? If improvements were being made in foreign ships it was the duty of the Admiralty not to wait too long before acting. He had a long list of French warships, in all of which, excepting one, water-tube boilers were being fitted. It would not be wise to let foreign navies possess all the strategic advantages which these boilers gave, while we lagged behind. The large French cruiser Alger, which was fitted with these boilers, made a very fast passage to China, and she was now cruising about in Chinese waters without any accident or difficulty having arisen. The new Russian ships, moreover, were all fitted with the water-tube boilers. But, at the same time, the Admiralty could not guarantee certainty as to these new boilers. Boilers had 167 been the difficulty of all navies from the peculiar services which were required of them, and it was necessary to watch every development. A great point had been made of the case of the Ohio; but there was one fact which had not been brought out, and that was that the boilers of the Ohio differed in some essential respects from the boilers of Her Majesty's ships.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said that the tubes which led to the difficulty on board the Ohio were not the same as the tubes used in Her Majesty's Navy. Knowing the facts, he could assure the Committee that in many essential particulars, and in some particulars where one could almost see why the difficulty arose, the boilers of the Ohio differed from those actually in use in the Royal Navy. Whatever the hon. Member might have to say with regard to the Sharpshooter, that vessel had not experienced a single one of the troubles which had been experienced on the Ohio. This campaign against the Belleville boilers was being conducted by a small number of men, while day after day engineers and naval men were giving their adherence to them. As regarded safety, the Belleville was infinitely safer than the cylindrical boilers. Only one-fifteenth part of the water used in the cylindrical boiler was used in the Belleville, and therefore, if an accident did occur, the amount of danger was smaller and the accident had only a local effect as compared to the terrible effect produced when the cylindrical boiler went wrong. Cases of accident could be quoted against every type of boiler, but his scientific advisers were convinced that, so far as the safety of the stokers was concerned, the water-tube boilers were superior to the cylindrical boilers. The hon. Member for Gateshead said he believed that the boilers of the Sharpshooter were not pressed. For no single moment did they refrain from using any of its boilers from the slightest suspicion that there might be anything wrong with them. These boilers were distinctly put into the Sharpshooter experimentally, and not because they were specially suited to such a ship. That would come home to the Committee 168 when he explained that the Sharpshooter was a comparatively small ship, and her boilers were greater than those of the Ohio. These boilers were put in with special reference to the Terrible and the Powerful, to ascertain whether a multiplication of the boilers in the Sharpshooter would produce the horse-power required for the Terrible, and that would now be ascertained in a few days. Then he came to the question of the consumption of coal. in the first instance, no doubt, the consumption of coal in the Belleville boilers had been large, but hon. Members would now see from the Return that had been made, that the consumption had fallen to 1.85. He was quite conscious that he was unable to deal with all the technical points raised by the hon. Member, but he hoped he had shown the Committee that the Admiralty had not proceeded in any rash manner with regard to these boilers. ["Hear, hear!"] As regarded safety, they believed they were safer than other boilers, and they believed they would be wrong to lag behind other Powers and neglect to put in boilers which were superior to others for naval purposes. ["Hear, hear!"] He saw no advantage in having another Committee on this question. What would be infinitely more to the purpose would be the trials of the Terrible and the Powerful. If those trials were saitsfactory the House of Commons would no doubt feel that the Admiralty were right in going forward. He hoped the Committee would not condemn the previous Board of Admiralty for having taken a step which was, no doubt, a courageous one, but which they believed to be necessary if they were not to lose the lead in ships. ["Hear, hear!"] He would not take upon himself the responsibility of interfering with the course then deliberately adopted. The opposition to the boiler was not strong enough to overcome the argument of those who had been considering this question for years in different countries; but at the same time he was bound to say that he would not wish to be understood as treating the matter in any dogmatic fashion. He would promise the Committee that the matter would continue to receive the closest attention of the Admiralty. It had been well said that naval supremacy must belong to the country which had 169 the best boilers, and he entirely admitted the enormous importance of the question. Might he be permitted to indulge in a personal reminiscence? When he was at the Admiralty before, soon after the loss of the Captain, when the Devastation was ready for sea, a violent controversy arose as to whether these turret ships were good seaboats or not. On one side it was contended that he would be committing homicide if he sent the Devastation or the Thunderer to sea; on the other, that he would be sacrificing the naval supremacy of the country if he did not. In the end he decided in accordance with the advice of his technical advisers, and the event proved that they were entirely in the right. No doubt the same anxiety must prevail in analogous oases in which there were differences of opinion, and he could only hope that in submitting these Estimates to the Committee he had not spoken with any undue dogmatism. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. C. H. WILSON
said that after their experience with the Babcock and Wilcox boiler, his own firm determined to make the experiment of fitting one steamer with the Belleville boilers. The boilers used in the ships he was connected with differed in many important points from those used by the Admiralty. One reason of that was that they were subject to the supervision of the Board of Trade, and whatever that Department suggested had to be carried out. The builders of these boilers had preferred welded steel tubes and headers of malleable cast iron. The Board of Trade said that this was all wrong, and that the tube must be made of iron and the headers of cast steel. The result was that Messrs. Maudsley had in their yards now the steel tubes and the headers that had been prepared. Instead of boilers being fitted with the Belleville feed-pump, they were fitted with pumps made by the shipbuilders, but these being unsatisfactory, Belleville pumps had to be substituted. In consequence of the small quantity of water in the Belleville boilers, the feeding was very important, and had to be practically automatic. The arrangements for the automatic feed in these ships had been somewhat less trustworthy than they ought to have been. That was the cause of the second disaster on board the Ohio. But the vessel had now gone seven times to 170 America and back, and at New York no expense had been necessary in connection with her boilers, although, as a rule, some repairs of a ship's boilers was necessary after a long sea voyage. There was this then, at any rate, to be put to the credit of the Belleville boiler. Supposing anything happened to a tube, the men on board having spare tubes, could replace it without difficulty. In port, however, the rules and regulations of the boiler makers were such that a ship's own crew were not allowed to effect the repair. In spite of what his hon. Friend on the left had said, the only question to be decided was whether the Admiralty were justified in the use of Belleville boilers. There were many manifest advantages attaching to Belleville boilers. When they were used, steam could be got up very much more quickly; in the case of damage by shock the damage was very much less, and the weight of the boilers was not nearly as great as the weight of the old boilers. Water-tube boilers were often talked about in that House, as if they were comparatively new things. The firm of Badcock and Wilcox, however, had made them by hundreds and thousands. His firm had a steamer in the Baltic and Mediterranean service which was fitted with Badcock boilers, and they had given perfect satisfaction for three years. A small steamer for Continental trade was similarly fitted, and she had been working for twelve months quite satisfactorily, steaming 13 or 14 knots. The same commendation had been used by a third vessel fitted with Badcock and Wilcox boilers, and employed in the Scandinavian trade. It was a mistake to suppose that shipowners did not advocate the use of water-tube boilers. The only question was whether the Admiralty had been wise in adopting the French form of boiler in preference to the Badcock and Wilcox boiler, which they could procure in this country without the payment of any royalty. He trusted that the Belleville form of boiler would prove a success, but thought that the Admiralty would very likely have obtained equal or even more satisfactory results if they had determined to use the water-tube boilers made in Great Britain. The Ohio, whatever her faults might be said to be, had made seven voyages across the Atlantic, and the only criticism that he had to pass upon her in 171 connection with her boilers was that there was perhaps room for improvement in respect of her consumption of coal. The Admiralty, he held, were justified in making the experiment upon which they had embarked, and he did not think it would be found that they had made a mistake, although possibly they might have selected a more suitable form of water-tube boiler.
§ SIR ARTHUR FORWOOD, (Lancashire, Ormskirk)
said that the First Lord of the Admiralty, in his able justification of the action of the Board, had used some arguments which could not be allowed to remain untraversed. This question vitally concerned the safety of the nation. Unless the boilers in our ships were to be reliable, durable, and fit for any service, we might just as well be without the vessels that we were constructing. The right hon. Gentleman had failed to meet the charge levelled against the late Board of Admiralty and himself—the charge, namely, of having rushed into an experiment of grave importance upon insufficient data. If the experiment had been limited to two cruisers, as the Boiler Committee proposed, good and sufficient ground could have been shown for making it. He joined the light hon. Gentleman in approving the composition of that Committee. The recommendation of the Committee was confined to an experiment with two cruisers. Instead of carrying out that recommendation, the late Board of Admiralty, now followed by the present, had gone on to the extent of 26 or 28 vessels before one of them had been to sea. It was all very well to quote the Sharpshooter; whether it was tried by six or eight boilers did not affect the question whether those boilers were good or otherwise. The danger arising from the Belleville boiler was that when they came to press it to the fullest extent of power it would give out. Upon the comparatively small amount of water it contained depended the safety, security, and working of the boiler, and if there was any doubt about the automatic feeding of the boiler, they were exposed to all the dangers possible to arise from water-tube boilers. The trial of the Sharpshooter was illusory in this sense—that the boilers were only tested to two-thirds of the power for which they were designed. The maximum power obtained was 350-horse 172 power; the maximum power designed was 500-horse-power.
§ SIR ARTHUR FORWOOD
said he would give the right hon. Gentleman his authority. On the Estimates last year, doubts were raised by the hon. Member for Lewisham as to the sufficiency of the experiment in the case of the Sharpshooter. The late Civil Lord said it was merely a question of multiplication; each of the boilers on board the Sharpshooter was repeated 48 times in the Terrible and the Powerful. As the boilers in the last-named vessel indicated 25,000 horse-power, if the Committee divided that number by 48, they would obtain the result he had stated. The boilers, therefore, had only been tested to the extent of two-thirds, and until they were tested at the full power for which they were designed no one could feel any satisfaction that they were sufficient and trustworthy. He was, moreover, sceptical as to the technical information placed before the Lords of the Admiralty with regard to engineering matters. They had received the sad news of an explosion on board the cruiser Blake. Twelve months ago he gave the name of this vessel as one to which objection had been raised on account of its boiler strength. He stated then that the advisers of the Admiralty had constructed these boilers and were using them with a pressure of 155 lbs. per square inch, and that the specification of the strength of the boilers, if submitted to the Board of Trade or to Lloyd's, would not have been more than 114 lbs. pressure; therefore the boilers were being used at a pressure of one-third more than the Board of Trade would have allowed in the Mercantile Marine. When the ship was constructed, the attention of the Engineering Department was called to the fact, but the reply was: "We know a great deal better than the Board of Trade or Lloyd's; we have the right strength."
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
invited the right hon. Gentleman to postpone his criticism until the Inquiry as to the accident had been held. At present he should be unable to reply to the right hon. Gentleman, and he hoped that another opportunity would be 173 taken to discuss the facts of this case. It might be possible that the accident had nothing to do with the strength of the boilers.
§ MR. BENJAMIN PICKARD (York, W. R., Normanton)
If the statements of the right hon. Gentleman are verified, will the Government give compensation for the injury and loss of life?
§ SIR ARTHUR FORWOOD
said that the moral he was anxious to draw was that the Engineering Department of the Admiralty was too sanguine in advising the Department as to these experiments. ["Hear, hear!"] Fifteen or 20 ships had been constructed with this type of boiler from theoretical and not from practical results; and he asked the right hon. Gentleman not to press forward the construction of these boilers until there had been a thorough and proper experiment on one of the vessels. The hon. Member for Hull was taken as strongly supporting the Civil Lord of the Admiralty last year when he said that personally he had every reason to believe that the Admiralty were proceeding in the right direction. It now turned out that the hon. Member was commending not the water-tube Belleville boiler, but a boiler of a different type, and if they were so satisfied with the Belleville boiler, how came it that, in the ship just laid down, the Belleville boiler was not adopted? This was a practical proof that the right hon. Gentleman did not rely on the Belleville boiler; but the gravamen of the complaint against the Admiralty had been the wholesale experiments made with the Belleville boilers in the war ships of this country. He quite agreed with the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the British Navy should not fall behind those of other countries, but, when he pointed to the list of French ships which were fitted with these boilers, he replied that he should prefer experiments tried under our own officers and men to accepting the dictum of any foreign report. Then, with regard to the argument based on the change from muzzle-loading to breech-loading guns, the fact was that this nation, by not rushing hastily into the adoption of breech-loading guns gained materially, and we were better armed in breech-loading guns than any foreign nation. He concluded by again urging on the First Lord of the Admiralty that 174 he would hurry on the trials of the Terrible and Powerful, and that he would give his own instructions as to the extent of those trials, and that in doing so he would have regard to such tests of endurance as would satisfy the country that they had an article on which they could depend.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee),
on the part of his late colleagues, expressed his entire satisfaction with the way in which the First Lord of the Admiralty had dealt with the action of his predecessors. The right hon. Gentleman said that he and they were alike bound to follow the opinion of the professional experts. That was the principle on which the late Board acted from the beginning, and they found that those whoso duty it was to study this question, whose capacity in relation to such questions had not been disputed by any hon. Member, arrived at the conclusion, nearly four years ago, that the water-tube boiler in general, and the Belleville boiler in particular, were such as the Admiralty might safely adopt, and indeed were bound to adopt for ships of the Royal Navy. The question had been discussed many times and always with the same result. What the Committee were asked to do to-night was to reverse the decision, not only of the professional experts of two Boards of Admiralty, but the responsible decisions of two Administrations and the deliberate judgment of the House of Commons. He submitted to those who had listened to the Debates in the last Parliament that nothing had been advanced which should lead the Committee to reverse the conclusion to which the House of Commons came. They had heard the old advocatus diaboli on the subject against the Belleville boilers. He noticed, however, that while his enthusiasm as against the boiler had remained unabated, his reasons had changed from time to time. His first complaint was that water-tube boilers were a newfangled idea altogether. That was an objection which grew weaker year by year. To his mind, however, the water-tube boiler was a reversion to the original type of boiler, the water enclosed in metal, as typified by the familiar teakettle. The next ground of attack was that those boilers were necessarily dangerous, but that charge now appeared to be abandoned.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
retorted that, at all events, no evidence had been adduced to prove its alleged danger in addition to the extremely flimsy evidence produced on a former occasion. He called the hon. Member for Shipley a new recruit, as a witness in favour of these boilers. The hon. Member stated that it was his belief, as a professional man, that that the water-tube would be generally adopted in the navies of the world. A statement like that, coming from an engineer of his eminence, outweighed all the detailed criticisms of the Member for Gateshead. The only thing that Gentleman had to say against the Admiralty was that they did not wait long enough before deciding upon the future type of boiler. The late Government did, no doubt, embark on considerable experiments in this matter, and he was entitled to claim credit for the courage they displayed. They took some risk, but he was pursuaded that unless the Powerful and Terrible misled them, the certain verdict of the House and country would be that they had adopted the proper policy. Last time the subject was before the House the hon. Member for Lewisham suggested that the Sharpshooter should be used for experiments in these boilers. The Sharpshooter had been so used, and it would be well if the hon. Gentleman would describe to the Committee the technical results of the trial. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Ormskirk Division seemed to have come to certain conclusions about the size of the boilers, which, he said, were based upon experiments made by him (Mr. E. Robertson). He was rather startled when he found himself burdened with the responsibility for the figures the right hon. Baronet had quoted. In the Debate on April 29th of last year, to which he supposed the right hon. Baronet referred, he answered the charge, which had now disappeared, against them, that they had bounded up at one leap from a small inch tube to a five-inch tube boiler. He said on that occasion:—The Admiralty had not bounded up from a small inch tube of a torpedo-boat destroyer to a five inch tube, but had simply taken one of the boilers which had been tested satisfactorily in the Sharpshooter and multiplied that by 48, and put it in a ship that required it.176 He certainly had no knowledge then of capacities; it was the difference in tubular size he was speaking of. He could not say he was surprised the boiler question had been again renewed, but he hoped this was the last time the Admiralty would have to defend its water-tube boiler policy.
§ MR. G. W. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)
said these technical discussions were very inconvenient, as many hon. Members did not understand them. When the Belleville boilers were first introduced he objected to the very large scale on which the experiments were to be made. Since that time he admitted that a very considerable amount of experience had been gained, and more would be gained if trials of the Powerful and Terrible were conducted with a little more publicity than experiments were now. Some outsiders with practical knowledge ought to be permitted to be present when these vessels were tested. Belleville boilers were no use in the Mercantile Marine, but there were many points in the boilers which made them of advantage to the peculiar work of warships. They could, for instance, get up steam quicker than the ordinary cylindrical boilers. Then there was the saving in the weight. There was no doubt that in the tubular boiler they saved a considerable amount of weight. The Admiralty stuck to their old model of ships, and every ounce of weight which they could save in machinery enabled them to put in heavier guns and heavier armour. That was one of the reasons which induced the Admiralty to adopt tubular boilers. But what they saved in the weight of the boiler was lost again by the greater consumption of coal. The First Lord said they had reduced the consumption of coal from 2.2 per pound per hour to 1.85, but even the latter figure was a great deal too high. And then the Admiralty must not lose sight of the fact that if the Belleville boiler got up steam quicker, a ship fitted with these boilers would never be able to steam the same distance as a ship with cylindrical boilers would, for the simple reason that the Belleville boilers consumed so much more coal. The tubular boilers required very careful stoking, and he very much doubted whether there were many men in the Royal Navy sufficiently skilled and careful to do the stoking which the 177 Belleville boilers required. He advised the Admiralty to draft some good men from the Mercantile Marine into the Navy, and give them lessons on the important point of stoking. At the great trials on the Powerful and Terrible, on which so much depended, he trusted the Admiralty would see their way to allow outsiders to be present.
§ MR. JOHN PENN (Lewisham)
said the returns as to the trials in the Sharpshooter were very instructive. It had been pointed out with truth that each of the boilers in the Sharpshooter when running the trial indicated only about 365 as against 500 indicated horse power. With regard to the consumption of coal per indicated horse-power, the consumption in the last trial per square foot of grate per hour was 18.8. Previously it was 18. In the Powerful and the Terrible the boilers were so designed that they would have to burn little more to obtain the contract condition of 24,000 indicated horse-power, and the slight increase in the consumption of coal per square foot of grate would be more than made up for by the greater power in the vessels. One thing was certain—that the power would be obtained, and with the greatest possible ease, and he believed the vessels would be able to maintain that power during the whole of their running as well as on trial occasions. Two hon. Members had made a point of the weight of the Belleville boilers being in excess of that of ordinary boilers. Surely there was some radical mistake in that assumption. As an instance in proof of this he might cite the case of the Majestic, the total weight of the machinery and boilers of which was 1,325 tons; and he found that if the Belleville boilers had been adopted in her, they would have made a difference of 200 tons less. ["Hear, hear!"] Another point which had been raised was the difficulty of stoking the Belleville boilers. He had recently had an interview with a gentleman who had charge of the boiler-room of the Cherson, a vessel of 1,200 indicated horse-power, and fitted with Belleville boilers, at Newcastle, and that gentleman told him that in a trial trip of 12 hours, with such stokers as he could find, the results, though not very brilliant for the first six hours, were in every possible way satisfactory during the remaining six hours, 178 and that no trouble whatever was found with the boilers. ["Hear, hear!"] The fact that 22,000 indicated horse-power was obtained in the preliminary runs of the Terrible out of her 24,000 total power was a proof, he thought, that there was nothing radically wrong in the Belleville form of boiler. ["Hear, hear!"] He admitted that he had deprecated so extreme a step as the adoption of the Belleville boiler throughout the entire service without further experiments being made, and he was very glad to know now that, so far as the results of the experiments already made were concerned, the bold action of the Admiralty and their advisers had been fully justified, for the experiments had wholly failed to confirm the alarms which had been raised in relation to the use of those boilers. [Cheers.] He hoped the suggestion thrown out that the trials of the Terrible and Powerful would be made as exhaustive as possible would be adopted. There might be some difficulty in permitting a large number of outside experts to attend those trials, but he certainly thought that the fullest possible information should be given of the experiments when they were made. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. W. ALLAN
said that after the Debate which had taken place, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
said he wished to draw attention to the policy of subsidising merchant steamers for use in case of emergency, in relation to which the sum of £48,000 appeared on the Estimates for the present year. The policy was one of the effects of the war scare of 1885. In that year there was a Vote of Credit, and the Admiralty subsidised 16 merchant vessels. Those ships cost the country nearly £600,000, and it had been shown that the vessels, which cost the country on an average £37,000 each had been of no service or benefit whatever to it. In 1887 this policy was continued, though at less cost, but in several years since the amount of the subvention had been over £60,000, and this year the amount taken was not very far from it. Among the reasons alleged in support of 179 the policy was the advantage of having at command at a fixed price vessels available for transport service. But he urged that the transport of any large number of troops would require a great many vessels, and that the 11 only which would be subsidised this year, for instance, would be of little practical value. But during the whole 10 or 11 years that those subventions had been paid not one of the vessels subsidised had been used for the transport of troops. The policy had entirely broken down. Another reason given in support of the subventions was that the system would prevent our fast merchant steamers falling into the hands of foreign Powers. How did that appear in the light of experience? Since 1887, we had spent in those subventions something like £340,000. Out of that sum £22,000 had been given to the Inman Line, which suddenly appeared under a foreign flag. That money might as well have been thrown into the Thames for the benefit the country derived from it. Another reason adduced in port of the policy was that it would give the Admiralty the command of the fastest vessels of the merchant fleet. It was said that this policy was to encourage the building of fast steamers, and the fitting of them so as to be suitable for war. He should like to examine whether the policy pursued had or had not failed. He dared say hon. Members had received a pamphlet signed by Mr. Gordon Smith, who made some very startling statements. He had not had time to verify those statements, but he declared that within the last 10 years the British Mercantile Marine, as regarded the number of vessels of highest class speed, had relatively declined compared to foreign Powers. If that were true it was one of the most serious facts that had to be faced, and he would specifically ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he could give the House any information as to what had been done in the last 10 years with regard to the retention by England of a first place in the possession of the very fast steamers. The point he wished to direct attention to was whether this policy of subventions had given the Admiralty the real control and pre-emption of the best of the steamers, and he thought it had not. There were 11 vessels receiving these subsidies, amounting in all to 180 £48,620, and these subsidies varied from £7,500 per vessel to something like £2,400. Were these the pick of the vessels? He maintained they were not. The first two, belonging to the Cunard Company, were returned at Lloyd's as having a speed of 19 knots and upwards. There could be no question about their being first-class boats, and in every way suitable for the purpose. Then the Teuto ic and Majestic of the White Star Line, came into the first class. But when they passed from these they got the Empress of India, the Empress of China, and the Empress of Japan, for which they were paying a subsidy of £7,313 a year. They were only 16½-knot boats, when they were built five years ago, and they were not going to say that they would take up these boats for general purposes of war to deal with German or French, or United States boats of 19 and 20 knots. Therefore, for purposes of war, he maintained the policy had failed. He would bring it out in another way. They had got Lloyd's list of 55 British ships of 400,000 tons power and upwards that steamed 17 knots and upwards. Eight out of the 11 subsidised boats were in that category. The other three were half-a knot behind. Therefore, he asked if it was not the case that this policy of subvention was not doing what was wanted. There was a note in the Estimates that:—in addition to the above the companies engage to hold the following vessels at the disposal of the Admiralty without further subsidy.There followed a long list of vessels, but it was a curious thing that two of those vessels that were 19-knot boats got no subsidy at all, while they were paying subsidies to 16½-knot vessels. They had had 10 years of this policy and it had not produced, he maintained, the result they anticipated, and it was time to consider what was really going to be their policy with regard to the Mercantile Marine, so as to utilise it for war without interfering in such a way as to damage and retard its commercial interests in peace. In the case of the Empress of China, Empress of India, and Empress of Japan, the real truth was they were paying these subsidies, not for naval purposes at all, but for what was really a colonial and post-office purpose. This was a policy, not founded, as it 181 should be, on Navy requirements and estimates, but of mixed motives. They had been paying these inefficient ships this subsidy for the last few years, and he wanted to know how much longer they were going to pay it. This money was really paid to them to enable those ships to be there at all. They could not have put on the Canadian Pacific line at all, even with the Post Office subsidy, unless they had had something else, and so this subsidy was given from the Admiralty. He did not think that was a right charge to be put on the Navy Estimates. By all means let them be liberal and co-operate with the colonies in every way to maintain a line of communication in peace and war, but do not let them have a mixed policy, which would land them they did not know where. In the case of the line that kept up the communication between Canada and Hong Kong they were paying the subsidies, not for the running of that line, but to keep in their hands the power of running the vessels off that line—just at the very time the colonies wanted them most. He believed they would not be able to do that, because it would be said they were taking away the ships in the hour of the colonies' greatest danger, and they would find they had paid all their money for nothing. At this moment there was a question of establishing a new Atlantic line to which Canada was to give so much, the Post Office was to give so much, and, according to the proposals of the Canadian authorities, the Admiralty was to give so much. If they were going to put part of the charge upon the Navy Estimates, just think of what they were doing. They were deluding Canada with the idea that in war time they could rely on these fast steamers to keep up her communications. If they were going to take off these fast steamers in war time, they were forcing Canada into the position of having these lame ducks of 16½-knot ships to carry on her communications. He was in favour of utilising the Mercantile Marine of this country, but that was what this policy of subventions was not doing. It left out the best vessels and kept on the inefficient ones. He could understand a broad policy of subsidising a line to run in peace and war in connection with their colonies, and he could understand that it would be worth 182 while not to be niggardly; but he could not understand the policy of spending money that did not give them the results they anticipated—of spending money steadily every year off the Navy Estimates on vessels that were inefficient, that they could not utilise, and that, in fact, they could not apply to any purpose whatever. One other point. Granted that their object was to have these fast marine steamers, and the very best of them ready at a moment's notice, the question arose, what were their arrangements for arming them? He objected to the subventions as at present applied on the broad grounds he had mentioned, but there were other objections. What would happen to those three vessels in the Pacific if they were suddenly to be plunged into war with the United States? They had not their guns and ammunition on board, and that was the case with all their vessels. In the event of the breaking out of a war they would have to come home for the purpose of being armed. He should like to know, when an arrangement was made with a steamer and this annual subsidy promised, what was the basis of the contract? How long was the subsidy to continue, would the vessel write off 6 per cent. depreciation in her purchase price every year, and was the arrangement such that this country could have the vessel whenever it was required? He would also like to know whether Germany and France were not relatively stronger to us now than they were in the matter of vessels of maximum speed?
§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
observed that the subject raised by the gallant Admiral was one of great importance with the trade and commerce of this country, and he had himself often wondered why the House of Commons paid so little attention to the question of subventions to the Mercantile Marine. Those who had followed the proceedings of foreign countries knew that within the last few years there had been an enormous development of the policy of subventions for fast vessels. At the present moment several countries possessed a larger number of fast mercantile vessels than we did, and, in all probability, in a short time would possess a much larger number. He was told that there were now 20 mercantile cruisers of a speed of about 19 knots an hour receiving subventions, 183 of which only six belonged to this, and 14 to competing countries, with some of which we might any day be at war. He thought the Committee scarcely realised what a fearful danger this exposed our commercial marine to. In the event of a great war with a maritime power, we had no naval cruisers nearly approaching these mercantile cruisers in speed. The fast naval cruisers could not steam more than 17 knots an hour, while there were several mercantile cruisers capable of a speed of 22 knots. He believed the Germans, French, Americans, and Russians had vessels which could steam about 22 knots an hour. The scale of subsidies which our Government offered to mercantile cruisers was far too small to keep up a proper supply of vessels. Those we had were run at a heavy loss. Anyone acquainted with Liverpool knew that the lines running fast passenger vessels were losing money. No dividend had been paid by the Cunard Company for some years, and the result was quite clear—one could not expect the supply of fast cruisers unless the Government largely increased the subsidies. The fact was they would die out. Mercantile men, looking at the experience of the Cunard Company seeing that the owners of two of the finest vessels that were ever put afloat were losing money continuously upon them, in spite of the small subsidy they got from the Government, would no longer go on building that type of vessel. Their fast liners were gradually being cut out by those of foreign countries. if the Government continued the present cheese-paring policy of giving these small subsidies of £3,000 or even £7,000 a year for a ship which cost £300,000 or £400,000 to build, whereas foreign Governments gave subsidies five or six times as large, we should certainly, in a few years, see the entire class of fast cruisers pass from this country to our competitors. In the event of a war, foreign countries having these fast cruisers would possess an enormous advantage. Their business would be, by these fast cruisers, to destroy the trade of this country, which so largely depended upon the sea, so many of our means of supply coming from abroad. If the trade of this country was completely disorganised for six months, we should have wholesale distress and tremendous suffering amongst the great 184 masses of our population. That was a state of things that would happen if we could not protect the great highways of our commerce. What would occur sup posing we were suddenly engaged in war with Germany on the one hand and the United States on the other? Quite a number of fast cruisers with ail prepared and guns aboard would play on our commerce, and before we could have caught these vessels the same thing would happen that happened in connection with the United State in 1861–62, when, in the war between North and South, two or three fast cruisers escaped from English ports, and almost destroyed the marine of the Northern States, the American war vessels being unable to capture them. That was what would occur supposing our competitors put to sea a number of these fast cruisers, which our naval cruisers could not catch. We were spending £23,000,000 just now on the regular Navy, and this small sum of £48,000 on subsidising fast cruisers which in reality would turnout far more useful to us than ships of war, for the special work of catching cruisers of the same class. He considered that we ought to have the same preponderance in regard to fast cruisers over other nations as we had in ships of war, but this result would never be brought about until the Government were able to offer much larger subsidies than those that obtained at present.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY,
in replying upon the discussion, said that as he understood his hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth, the point he had raised was whether the arrangement existing between the Admiralty and the owners of armed cruisers was satisfactory, whether the country got money's worth for the money expended, and whether we could command the services of these cruisers whenever necessary. He might say at once, repeating what he had said before, that he was not satisfied that, generally, the arrangement was such that he would wish to expand it on its present basis—in fact, he should be inclined to curtail what was being done unless it could be put on a more satisfactory footing. But the Government was bound by contract, in one case for 10 years and in another for five years. The contract with the White Star Line would terminate in February 185 1897, and notice had been given that it would be renewed under revised conditions. The hon. Member for Flintshire Said that unless large Government subventions were given English shipowners would be driven out by the competition of foreigners and we should not be able to secure the services of fast vessels. He himself was not so despondent as to the powers and capacities of British shipowners as to think they would not be able to compete with foreigners in regard to mercantile supremacy at sea. The question of large subsidies was not an Admiralty question but a Government question in its widest sense, and partly also a Colonial question. His hon. Friend dissented from the view that Post Office or colonial considerations should be wrapped up with naval considerations. He agreed with his hon. Friend that steamship lines should not be subsidised for local or Post Office purposes and part of the money charged on the Navy Estimates. He should be sorry to see the Navy Estimates charged with any expenditure which under disguise was intended for colonial or Post Office purposes. If colonial lines of steamers were to be subsidised it should be done openly. As regarded the Imperial question he had no authority or knowledge to give any opinion. He could not say to what extent it was necessary that British shipping should be supported by British subsidies because foreign nations were giving larger subsidies. It was a new principle and one entirely against all the old doctrines, and it would be a serious thing to say that the commerce of the country must be subsidised that we might have more fast ships. The hon. Member claimed that we should subsidise fast ships with £15,000 a year. A subsidy of £15,000 a year for 10 years would amount to £150,000. He was not sure himself whether he would not rather build a fast vessel which would belong to us exclusively than hand over £150,000 to a mercantile line without the certainty of getting just the ship that was wanted. The great question in subsidising merchant cruisers was whether the Admiralty could secure their services when they wanted them and utilise them at once. He admitted that the conditions under which subsidies were at present given might be improved, but he could not 186 admit that they were as useless as his hon. Friend suggested.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
Well, not efficient enough. He understood his hon. Friend to say that to subsidise ships of 16 knots was almost useless, for ships only capable of 16 knots would be too slow. His hon. Friend asked whether ships would have to come home to fit their guns. There were ships' guns in store at Hong Kong and other places abroad already, and arrangements had been made for utilising the ships rapidly. When at Chatham recently he saw that all the requirements for cruisers that came to England were ready. They were arranged, classified, and numbered and everything necessary could be put on board a cruiser at 24 hours' notice. As far as organisation went the Admiralty had done its best. He was fully sensible of the importance of utilising merchant ships as much as possible, and he was not satisfied how far they could be suddenly utilised in case of war. The whole subject should be considered by the Admiralty. He admitted its gravity, and the Committee might feel confident that the Admiralty would do its best to put our arrangements to secure the services of merchant cruisers on the best footing they could. ["Hear, hear!"]
*SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH (Lancashire, Clitheroe)
said that on the face of the Estimates the £48,000 paid for subsidising mercantile steamers as cruisers in the event of war might seem a most economical piece of expenditure. Still he agreed that the arrangement was not entirely satisfactory. At present we were bound by contract, the existing engagements having been entered into before the time of Lord Spencer; and for £48,000 we retained a better class of ships, capable of greater speed than we formerly did for £60,000. But this system of subsidies did not commend itself strongly to him, and it was, perhaps, the most questionable expenditure in the whole shipbuilding Vote. It was probable that in time of war we could get all we wanted of ships of this character without the present expenditure. We had spent and were spending large sums in adding to the cruisers fully equipped and armed, with 187 boilers and engines in the proper position under protective decks and below the water-line, with all the advantages attaching to ships specially constructed for war purposes; and in these circumstances it would be more satisfactory to rely upon ships of this character in time of war rather than upon ships engaged in the Mercantile Marine. He doubted whether, in time of prolonged peace, it was the interest of this country to renew the existing contracts and to spend £60,000 or £48,000 a year in subsidising ships which, after all, might not be available when they were wanted, which were not the best for our purpose, whose boilers were exposed to the enemy's fire, and which, whatever their speed might be, might lose all power of moving by a shot or two in the machinery. All these considerations made it a serious question whether it was better to go on adding to the number of cruisers than subsidising mercantile steamers. Intimately connected with this subject and calling for the careful consideration of the Admiralty was the open question whether the transport of troops should be carried on in our own ships or in hired ships. If it was determined to have Government troopships, we might have them armed much more powerfully than mercantile cruisers could be, and properly constructed and protected; and they could always be in commission and ready for war wherever they might be when it broke out. This would be more satisfactory than subsidising mercantile cruisers. A good deal was said about the possible destruction of our commerce at sea in time of war; but if we were strong at sea what had happened in the past would happen again; in time of war the trade of this country did not diminish, but it increased; it was found safer to carry on trade in English bottoms than in foreign bottoms, because our power was undoubted; and it was by keeping our Fleet strong and capable of defeating an enemy's fleet at sea that we should be able to protect our commerce. It was not necessary on the score of speed to engage mercantile vessels, because the speed of the Powerful and the Terrible was 22¼ knots and the torpedo-boat destroyers went up to 30 knots. The £48,000 he looked upon as the least satisfactory item in the Vote, and the 188 subject would need careful consideration before any of these contracts were renewed. He shared the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that it was not a satisfactory expenditure, and no one would wish to see it extended on its present basis. To guard against the risk of the transfer of subsidised steamers to foreign Powers, under recent contracts a year's subsidy had been kept in hand; and this was some check upon transactions of that kind.
*ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
said that the policy now adopted of subsidising mercantile steamers was forced upon us when our position, from deficiency in cruisers, was very different from what it is to-day. He would make it a condition of the contract that one-half the sum that had been paid in subsidy should be refunded if a vessel were sold to a foreign Power. A year's subsidy could easily be added to the purchase price of a vessel. The view that we need be under no apprehension as to our commerce if we were supreme at sea was not largely shared by naval men; and it must be remembered that, in the former war, in 21 years we lost 200 millions worth of property. He always objected to these merchant steamers on one ground, when the matter came up for review. His great objection was on account of their boilers being above the water line—a long way above the water line. That meant that they could not contend against a gunboat or a torpedo destroyer or anything of that kind. The hon. Member had opened up quite a new question. He could not agree with the First Lord of the Admiralty that it was not worthy of consideration.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said he had stated that the subject should be considered as a whole. He did not at all say it was not worthy of consideration.
begged the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. He thought it deserved very serious consideration in view of the great competition in the commerce across the sea. Seeing the number of cruisers which France subsidised and which could be thrown across our line of commerce, he repeated it was a very serious question. If these subsidised armed cruisers were to be thrown across our lines of communication, they 189 could not communicate with places at a distance. If they employed inferior steamers they would be liable to be captured. He was astounded to find how few merchant steamers there were of high speed. There were only 57 vessels exceeding 15 knots and only 856 exceeding 12 knots an hour. Their policy should he to encourage these ship-owners to build superior vessels, to build vessels of a higher speed; and then by subsidising that class of vessel they would have the service of armed cruisers worthy of the name. He remembered Sir Geoffry Hornby saying he would rather use them as greyhounds, to keep touch with the enemy, to bring information. He did not wish to condemn the policy, for he knew it was initiated at a time when it was important that public opinion should be more or less calmed down owing to the statements of naval men.
§ MR. S. SMITH
said his hon. Friend spoke of 22½ knots, but he should be surprised to see 20 knots. Let them consider what the result would be of vessels like the Terrible and Powerful attempting to catch fast cruisers. Why they would never catch them until Doomsday. In former wars they maintained their position because they had the strongest Navy. How was it between North and South in the American Civil War? The North bad every warship, but the South managed to get a few fast cruisers, purchased in this country, especially the Alabama. These vessels destroyed the mercantile marine. One Admiral belonging to the Fleet of the North said that if the North had owned a few fast merchant vessels they would have been sufficient to raise the entire blockade, because of their speed enabling them to catch the vessels preying on their ships. The southern cruisers, he said, had reduced the tonnage from 2,660,000 tons to 1,492,000 from which it had never recovered. ["Hear, hear!"] Surely, that showed the Committee the enormous importance of these fast cruisers. He thought it would be foolish to neglect this matter. It would be a great deal cheaper to have these fast cruisers, and to act as the German and Russian Governments were acting.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.190
§ £2,251,000, Shipbuilding, Repairs, Maintenance, etc. (Materiel).—Agreed to.
§ £2,104,000, Shipbuilding, Repairs, Maintenance, etc. (Personnel).
§ *GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
referred to the petitions presented by the workmen, and to the representations made to the First Lord of the Admiralty by the Members representing the dockyard constituencies. He pointed out that the Return which he asked for showing the concessions made to the line-men had only been issued that very afternoon, and that therefore he had not had an opportunity to ascertain how far the men's complaints had been met. He did not desire to take up the time of the House in discussing details which might have been readjusted, and could therefore ask the First Lord to examine closely the representations already made, and to remedy any unfairness in the present rate. He must, however, again remind him that the complaints against classification in certain trades was as strong as ever, and he pointed out that, although classification was nominally abolished in 1894, the feeling was strong among the men that men doing the same work should not be paid different rates of wages. He urged this matter should be fully considered.
§ Vote agreed to.
4. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £236,800, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expenses of the Admiralty Office which will come in coarse of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897.
§ MR. W. ALLAN
said he desired to move the reduction of the vote on purely business grounds. He did not like to see the officials of the State, who dealt with vast sums of money, paid salaries far less than they would be paid for similar services in ordinary business undertakings. When it was considered that a sum of 23 millions was disbursed every year for the Navy by the Admiralty Office, and that the officials of the Department only received in salaries £20,000, it must be admitted that they 191 were a miserably underpaid staff. The head engineer of the Admiralty got only a paltry £1,300 a year. If he were in an engineering factory he would be paid double that sum. Even the First Lord of the Admiralty, who might be described as the manager-in-chief of the whole concern, did not get the salary of the manager of a shipbuilding yard. [Laughter.] He only got the miserable pittance of £4,500 a year. [Laughter.] The Secretary to the Admiralty was paid the wretched salary of £2,000. Many a head clerk got more than the Civil Lord, which was £1,000 a year for hard work. [Laughter.] The Chief Naval Constructor, a most valuable servant, was only paid £2,500. He knew managers of shipbuilding yards in the north of England, where only ocean tramps were turned out, and where not a tithe of the genius required in naval construction was needed, who got more than that. It was contrary to all ideas of British justice that 23 millions should be disbursed in the Admiralty Office and that the managers of the Department should be paid only £20,000 a year, or about a farthing in the pound of the sum spent. He therefore begged to move the reduction of the vote by £2,000—[loud laughter]—in order to take the sense of the Committee on the subject.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said it was extremely gratifying to everyone connected with the administration of the Admiralty to find that the hon. Member was of opinion that they were underpaid. [Laughter.] He only hoped the hon. Gentleman would use his energy and eloquence in the country to persuade the Members of the House to give effect at some future time to his proposal. [Laughter.] But owing, probably, to the pensions and other advantages which were attached to service under the Crown, the Admiralty was able to obtain in all it branches the services of able and efficient men, which it was so essential in the interests of the country to secure.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *SIR. C. DILKE
said that was not the time to enlarge upon the subject of the financial arrangements of the Navy, but he would like to say, before the Vote was taken, that there were many Members who were far from being satisfied with the present provision for the Naval interests of the country; and they had heard with deep regret the announcement of the First Lord of the Admiralty that he agreed with the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was possible to diminish rather than to increase the Navy Estimates. The relations of the Powers of Europe were such that we could not look forward in the next six or seven years to a state of things which would make it safe for us to be content with a fleet equal to the combined fleets of two other Powers, which was all that the present Naval policy contemplated. Probably a fleet equal to those of three Powers would be a more adequate provision for the needs of the country. He heard with great regret that the Government thought that their scheme of this year would be sufficient for the next three or four years; many hon. Members did not think so, and at the beginning of next Session, on the first Vote of the Navy Estimates, they should be prepared to state that view unless the Government in the meantime made further proposals.
§ *MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty) moved to reduce the salary of the First Lord of the Admiralty, in item A, by £1,500, in consequence of the difficulty he had experienced in getting any information from the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the protection of fishermen in the north of Scotland. He had repeatedly asked that gunboats might be sent up to protect the fishermen against the trawlers, and the right hon. Gentleman had been silent. A policy of silence did not suit the Highlanders. Undoubtedly the right hon. Gentleman was a very clever financier, and could negotiate a foreign loan as well as any man in the country. He had been very patient with the First Lord during the last 12 months, as he was new to his office, but it seemed rather like putting a square 193 block into a round hole to put a financial man in control of the Admiralty. HE had asked the right hon. Gentleman to allow facilities for the purpose of recruiting boys for the Navy in all the Highland counties; the right hon. Gentleman had told them that there were plenty of boys available for the Navy, but they were unable to swim. It was pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman where he could get an ample supply of boys who could swim like ducks, but he had passed by Ross-shire and Caithness-shire, and other constituencies represented by Liberals, and took care to send his ships round to districts represented by men on his own side. There were a number of ships lying idle, and it was the duty of the Admiralty to send ships for the purpose of protecting the interests of the line fishermen. The Scotch Office had applied for ships for this purpose, as well as the Fishery Boards, but with no result. But if a gunboat was wanted for the slightest disturbance in Cornwall, it was sent there in a few hours, as was shown in the recent Newlyn disturbances. Was it because the Highlands were so far from the capital that they received so little attention? He begged to move the reduction standing in his name.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
supported the Amendment. He said the First Lord of the Admiralty was well-known as a financier, and in the responsible position of Chancellor of the Exchequer he had no doubt formerly performed his duties to the best of his ability. Many hon. Members opposite had had the opportunity of training in this arm of the service which would enable them to deal more adequately with this matter than those who approached the subject from outside.
§ DR. TANNER
said that Ireland had been as badly treated in regard to this matter as the Highlands. What had been done in connection with Haulbowline?
Order, order I The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to go into that question on this Vote.
§ DR. TANNER
said the First Lord had a very good salary, and as a financier he might be worth his money, but as regarded his position as First Lord of 194 the Admiralty he would point out that a naval expert only got £1,500 a year. He had frequently raised this question, and he sincerely hoped that a great number of hon. Gentlemen opposite would go boldly into the Lobby in favour of the Amendment, in order that the Navy might be administered by naval men, and that the head of this great service should be chosen from the ranks of the people.
§ The House having been cleared for a Division, the CHAIRMAN again put the question that the Vote be reduced, and declared that the "Noes" had it. A few hon. Members insisting that the "Ayes" had it,
*The CHAIRMAN said
I must ask those hon. Gentlemen who challenge my decision to rise in their places.
The "Ayes" having stood up the CHAIRMAN counted them, and, announcing that the "Ayes" were 10, declared that the "Noes" had it.
§ *MR. WEIR moved to reduce the Vote by £1,000 in respect of the salary of the Secretary to the Admiralty. He said that he did so in the interests of the line fishermen in the north of Scotland. Their grievances had repeatedly been raised, and no satisfactory answer had been given.
As far as I can gather, the hon. Member moves a reduction in the salary of the Secretary to the Admiralty on the ground that gunboats have not been sent to protect the fishermen in the north of Scotland from the trawlers.
The hon. Member has not shown any ground for moving the reduction. It has been ruled already 195 that the salary cannnot be reduced on account of the particular matter of complaint which the hon. Gentleman now alleges.
§ DR. TANNER
supported the reduction as a protest against the way in which the right hon. Gentleman treated the Irish Members. They had a great deal more courtesy from the Civil Lord, and no Irishman would be found opposing his salary. [Laughter.] The hon. Gentleman had been pitchforked into his office by Ulster influence, and what did he know about marine affairs?
Order, order! It is out of order to take exception on general grounds to the salary of a Minister [DR. TANNER: "He is not a Minister."] The hon. Member must allege some failure to carry out an official act, or some act wrongly performed. It is not open to the hon. Member in Committee of Supply to attack a Minister's character generally.
§ DR. TANNER
said that it was his duty to call attention to the fact that men had been unworthily promoted; and therefore he seconded the Amendment.
That Item A, Salaries, be reduced by £1,000, in respect of the Salary of the Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty."—[Dr. Tanner.)
§ The Committee divided—Ayes, 8; Noes, 104.—(Division List, 281.)
§ *MR. WEIR moved to reduce the salary of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty by the sum of £500, on the ground that there was great extravagance in the Department.
ruled that the hon. Gentleman was referring to matters that did not arise on the Vote.
Order, order! The hon Gentleman is trifling with the Committee, and his remarks are irrelevant, and I must request him to discontinue his speech.
§ DR. TANNER
said that there were many items in this Vote which showed a considerable increase on the Estimates of last year, and he desired some explanation of the fact.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
explained that sometimes there was an increase in the work under certain heads, and that at other times there was a decrease under those heads.
§ After the usual interval, Mr. GRANT LAWSON took the Chair.
§ DR. TANNER moved the reduction of the Vote by £500, on account of the perfunctory way in which the Votes had been dealt with by the Government and the unsatisfactory answers which had been returned to complaints throughout the evening.
That a sum, not exceeding £236,300, be granted for the said Service,—Dr. Tanner,)
put, and negatived.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
5 £81,300, Educational Services,—
*SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
called attention to the question of the education of naval cadets, and expressed his hearty concurrence with the statements of the First Lord of the Admiralty that the question how best to secure a good supply of young officers was "a matter of paramount importance," and that it was desirable to get the boys straight from the ordinary schools of the country rather than from crammers. He had no objections whatever to offer to the abolition of the hulk Britannia, and the substitution for it of a college on shore. Indeed, he thought the evidence in favour of that proposal was overwhelming, and, in his Opinion, it was clearly right that for the future they should look to the college on shore for the education of naval cadets. But quite apart from that question was the other question whether it would be desirable to advance the age by one year. So far as he had been able to ascertain, 197 if any of the headmasters still approved the raising of the average age of admission to the Britannia to 15, there were considerable differences of opinion amongst headmasters as to the raising of the age. The question arose whether there was any value in a year or so spent at a public school up to the age of 15 only. He had very great apprehensions that whilst the right hon. Gentleman was desirous, as he was, that a diminished number of hoys should go to crammers, the result of raising the age by one year would be that the boys would not go to a public school at all, but would go in increased numbers to crammers. Parents would not believe that boys would learn much in one year at a public school, and would be enabled to pass the examination. It might be said that if they did not go to a public school they would stay on at a preparatory school, but on that subject, having informed himself as to the opinions of some of the best preparatory schoolmasters, he found the general opinion was that they could not keep the boys beyond the age of 14 without upsetting the whole arrangements of their schools. It was said Admiral Luard's Committee was strongly in favour of raising the age. That was true. That Committee ten years ago, as a first measure, recommended that the average age should be raised from 13 to 14. And this was done. The Committee further wanted to draw from the public schools, but their proposal was quite a different one from that which was now suggested. Their proposal was that there should be a first selection about the age of 15, that it should be made by examination for lower certificates conducted by the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board. They also proposed that there should, after that examination, be a special education at school of those who passed it until the age of 16, an education in mathematics, elementary physics, drawing, and French, or German. They further 198 proposed that there should be a second examination by the Civil Service Commissioners at the age of 16, and that the marks of the two examinations should be added together, and that the boys who stood highest should be admitted. The Committee also proposed that the course on the Britannia should be limited to one year. Hon. Gentlemen would, therefore, see that the proposals made by the Committee which sat 10 years ago were quite different from those which had now been put forward. The general object with which he called attention to this subject was not to dogmatise, not to lay down any special scheme of his own, not to solve this extremely knotty question, but to suggest that it was one which should not be decided in a hurry or without the fullest consideration. The Committee would agree that this was really not a question for decision by naval officers, but for consultation with persons of educational experience. Their Naval advisers would tell them what they wanted for their sub-lieutenants. Men of educational experience should advise how that article could best be produced. There were several educational points for these to consider. The first was what was the best age at which boys should enter this new naval cadet college. He had one point to urge in relation to the admission to the college, and that was that at whatever age boys were admitted it was of very great importance to adapt the examinations to that which schools ordinarily taught, or were agreed to teach, up to that age, and not to stipulate that boys of that age ought to have learnt this or that. If they did that they played directly into the hands of the crammers. The second question was how were they to draw the best material into the college—and not a worse article, made to look as good or better—by the crammers' skill. The evidence before Admiral Luard's Committee showed how boys thus forced passed high in the entrance examination, 199 but were afterwards beaten by boys from ordinary schools who had passed lower. Then there was the question of the amount of competition that would be desirable at the age they might fix. At a tender age severe competition was open to objection. But if a later age was chosen the question would arise whether the numbers competing need be limited by the present system of nomination, whether the career of Naval officers might not with advantage be thrown open to all. Admiral Luard's Committee reported in favour of abolishing nomination, and thus increasing the number and improving the quality of the candidates. He had some doubt as to the wisdom of limiting the study at the college to 16 months instead of 23. He did not quite know how that could be worked in respect to the relays of boys, and he was also afraid lest the pressure on the boys during the 16 months would be too great. He attached the very highest importance to the substitution of a college on shore for the Britannia. If the college was properly constructed, and the masters were able, as they would be, to be associated with the life of the boys, a great improvement might be expected in the quality of those turned out. There was much reason to be pleased with the quality of the young men who went from the Britannia to serve on Her Majesty's ships, but still this was an opportunity for improvement. Advantage should be taken in the construction of the college of all the practical knowledge and experience that could be obtained. There had been one or two public schools built lately, and others had been enlarged, and conferences of head masters had discussed questions of construction. All that experience should be concentrated and the Admiralty should secure the benefit of it in the designing and erection of the naval college. He desired to emphasise one point to which he had already drawn attention—the great importance of provision being made for young university men, as the 200 assistant masters, to live among the boys in the Britannia, and share their life both at work and at play. It was impossible to exaggerate the importance of these matters, for on the education and training of our officers at the threshold of their professional career depended the future of the Navy. [Cheers.]
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said he fully recognised the responsibility that rested upon the Admiralty in this matter, and agreed that the turning out of our officers was more important than the turning out of guns or ships. It would be a shortsighted policy for the Admiralty to be lax in their duty in this direction. The right hon. Gentleman might feel assured that the Admiralty were adopting many of the precautions to which he had referred. They had to consider not only the education of the cadet when on board the Britannia, but the very difficult point how that education was to be continued when he passed into a sea-going ship—not only his education in the first two years as a cadet, but also his final education to make him an efficient naval officer. ["Hear, hear!"] It was a very difficult point to say to what degree a cadet should be grounded in certain subjects when he first went into the service. He had it on the authority of a large number of officers in different squadrons that it was only with the greatest difficulty that the education of the cadet could be continued on board ship—that the continuation of certain theoretical knowledge largely interfered with his practical instruction in seafaring duties. ["Hear, hear!"] He knew the practice varied under different captains. Some captains thought the wisest and best course was to give the young officer as much practical instruction in sea life and duties as possible, and to regard theoretical instruction as of secondary importance; while other captains were strict in keeping up the school hours and instruction. He believed they were 201 arriving at a great consensus of naval opinion that the ideal system would be that the young officer should be thoroughly grounded in all school knowledge before he went to sea, so that then he might be put less to school work and be employed more upon practical seafaring duties. ["Hear, hear!"] It was contended, as he had indicated, by officers of great experience that it was impossible to satisfactorily impart school or theoretical knowledge on board ship; they agreed that the young officer should have that knowledge, but urged that he should attain it before going to sea. The moral of that, of course, was that the young officer should be thoroughly grounded before going to sea. ["Hear, hear!"] The function of the Britannia might be defined to be this—to give the necessary naval turn and the practical application to the scientific and other knowledge the cadets had learned at their schools, and the moral of this was the raising of the age at which lads entered the Britannia. He quite admitted with the right hon. Gentleman that the difficulty—and it was a difficulty that occurred in every phase of education—was what to do with a boy between 14 and 15. No one wished to have him. [Laughter.] The public schools did not wish to take him until he was 15, and the private schools wished to get rid of him when he was 14. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] The naval establishments were not anxious to take him too young, and the other establishments did not wish to keep him beyond a certain age. Therefore, there was a real difficulty which justified the right hon. Gentleman saying that they must go very gradually and steadily to work in this matter. The right hon. Gentleman said they must not take the opinion of the naval officers on this point, but that they must take the views of educational experts and men of wide experience.
*SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH
The right hon. Gentleman has quite misunderstood me. I did not say we 202 must not take the opinion of the naval officers. I said we ought to have their opinion, but the other is the more important.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said he would not assign the degree of importance as between the two. The naval officer knew what he wanted to have. ["Hear, hear I"] Then the right hon. Gentleman said the educational expert would tell him how to get it. He thought it must be, at all events, with constant consultation with the naval officer who required the article. ["Hear hear!"] He quite agreed—and he had acted upon it—that they must have the advice of the educational expert, and he had endeavoured to get it. But it was not only the limited educational expert they wanted. They wanted wide experience—men who had given their attention to educational subjects during a lifetime. ["Hear, hear!"] He was not quite certain—he did not wish to be egotistical—whether, in some respects, he could not claim to be among the educational experts himself—["hear, hear!"]—because he had constantly taken an interest in all forms of education and been connected with educational establishments of various kinds for many years. ["Hear, hear!"] Therefore he approached the subject from the point of view of education as well as from the point of view of the First Lord of the Admiralty. He would inform the Committee what he had done. They had called upon the Naval Council of Education to give them their view as to the examination which would be suitable for boys a year older than those who were examined now. The right hon. Gentleman said that in the India Office and in other offices the Civil Service Commissioners had been called in and had improved very much the curriculum and 203 the nature of the education. Precisely the same thing, as he thought the right hon. Gentleman would have been aware, had been done with regard to naval examinations. They were really determined by the Civil Service Commissioners, in conjunction with the educational experts at Greenwich—the educational experts at Greenwich not being naval officers so much as men connected with education. He and his colleagues at the Admiralty were giving the greatest possible personal attention to the working out of the whole of this matter. He had examined the examination papers, which were set now to the boys of 14½, and he was sorry to say that some of those papers would be quite above his own capacity in answering. [Laughter.] There were some of the papers which he thought extremely difficult, and in a consultation which he had had with the representatives of the masters of preparatory schools, to whom these papers had been shown, they admitted that the Divinity paper especially was almost fit for candidates for ordination. ["Hear, hear!"] Some of the questions which were set to these boys of 13½ and 14½ reminded him of some of the papers which floored him in his own examinations. [Laughter.] The Committee could rely upon it that the subject of this examination was receiving their closest attention. The next step they had taken was this. Having received the report from the Council of Naval Education they were sending the result of that report, with the suggestions and papers for examination to the head masters of all the principal schools and inviting their opinion upon the examination, and asking them how far these papers would fall in with the general work which a well-educated boy ought to do at his own school.
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said if his hon. Friend would tell him what masters in Ireland were 204 interested in this subject he should take care to send them the papers. The Committee would feel that such a step as he had detailed would at least inform them of the possibility and the probability of their plans being successful. ["Hear, hear!"] He had had a preliminary conversation with three of the Head Masters. One was the Head Master of Eton, who took the keenest interest in the matter, and who had expressed both to him and to the Financial Secretary his strong belief that it would be possible for him to establish naval classes which would supply them with the proper candidates. The Head Master of Eton was an educational expert, and he did not see the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman had suggested. He himself acknowledged that there were difficulties, and because of those difficulties they would certainly go forward tentatively only in raising the age. They wished to have boys from the public schools, but they wished to have boys who had the same common education as the boys in other walks of life. The ideal system on which they would wish to work was that the boys should receive the same general education, free from any special professional character, up to a reasonable age, and he was entirely opposed to any competition at an earlier age. ["Hear, hear!"] He thought it was bad that the competition must begin so soon, and the suggestion sometimes put forward that there should be a preliminary competitive examination even below 13 was repugnant entirely to his own ideas. ["Hear, hear!"] He should await the reply from the masters of the public schools, but he had had the advantage of meeting the representatives of the great preparatory schools—not the crammers, but the preparatory schools who sent boys to their public schools. Some of the public schools did not receive boys until they were nearly 15, but there were preparatory schools where they were kept until they were nearly 15, and if they did not raise the age there they would still 205 be able to use the preparatory schools because they would be willing to keep boys till the age of 14½ when they could be sent in as candidates. If, on the other hand, 15½, or still better, 16 shonld ultimately become the age, then he thought there was every chance of parents sending their boys to larger schools—he did not mean only to the great public schools, but to larger schools where they might be able to secure that broader education which they desired. Whether they should defeat the crammer altogether was, of course, open to great doubt. Hitherto, in every department of life it appeared that the crammer had been to a great extent the successful man, and he had got to be circumvented at every point. What it was desired to secure was that the general schools should supply them with boys, and that purpose mainly might be achieved by a careful review of the examination papers, which ought to be such that an ordinary class at a school should be able to send up boys to the examination. The papers ought to be such as would test the general ability of a boy rather than the special knowledge which had been put into him during the last six months or so, and the examiners ought to be able to discover the difference between a crammed boy and a boy of good general knowledge and ability. ["Hear, hear!"] With regard to the point of the subsequent training, what they desired was that the boys who were put into the Britannia, if they were older, should know more than they knew now when they entered the vessel. A great portion of the work done now in the Britannia was such as might very well he done elsewhere better than it could be done in the crowded class rooms of the Britannia. They should like boys to be more advanced by a year, and better grounded than they were when they entered the Britannia, so that they should only have the shorter course of 16 months' training there, and when they went to sea the officers would receive them on board their 206 ships and find them much further advanced than they were now. More attention could then be devoted to the professional side of their education and to the kind of instruction which an officer ought to receive. ["Hear, hear!"] The younger officers all seemed to be in favour of more schooling before cadets went to sea and less schooling afterwards. They would thus be better prepared when they were taken on sea-going ships, and would have to go through less of that desultory work which was done under the naval instructor, and which was often little creditable to the naval instructor, who could not get the necessary attention owing to the distractions of sea life, nor to the pupils, who, for the same reasons, could not give the necessary attention to their studies. They would now be able to devote greater application to the practical duties of an officer of a ship. He had sketched the general views of the Admiralty on the subject, and he thought, if they could carry out this scheme, they were on the right tack. They were taking advice in every direction they could, and were looking at the matter from as broad a point of view as they could. For the present they had only raised the age by three months, and they should go on tentatively in that way. It was more than ever necessary that they should have a highly-trained body of officers. ["Hear, hear!"] With respect to the arrangement at the college, they would still look to naval assistance and experience, and, besides the young university men with whom the right hon. Gentlemen wished to associate the pupils he thought it would also be right to have young naval officers who themselves had gene through the education which was necessary, who would be an example of what naval officers ought to be, and imbue the whole place with a certain naval flavour, without which he should not like to see the college established or to exist. ["Hear, hear!"] When they proceeded to this step they should endeavour to meet the views of the hon. and gallant Admiral 207 who had spoken on this subject, so far as to give to the college as much of a naval tendency as was possible under the circumstances. ["Hear, hear!"] He trusted this explanation would be satisfactory to the Committee. ["Hear, hear!"]
THE EARL OF DALKEITH (Roxburgh)
said he should be glad to hear more of the course of education followed by naval officers after' leaving the college. Until they had further information on the subject it was hardly fair that they should be asked to raise the age to 15½ If there had been "cramming" in the past, there would probably be more in the future, because it was well known that in the ordinary public schools mathematics were not taught to any large extent. If the examinations for the Navy be suited to what was taught in the ordinary way at public schools they must be largely in Latin and Greek. He did not think a sufficient knowledge of mathematics could be acquired during a 16 months' course in the college, because, year by year, a greater knowledge of mathematics and science was necessary for naval officers. He should like to know whether, after leaving the training college, they could acquire a sufficient training in practical seamanship before they were sent to sea. As the Britannia was to be done away with, if they were sent to sea without any training in a training ship, it would be difficult, under the present conditions of naval life, to get a proper knowledge of seamanship, which could only be picked up in a sea-going ship. Probably the altered conditions of naval life formed one great reason for raising the age of entry into the profession. Now that there were no masts or sails on men-of-war, there was little for a small boy to do, and on this ground, no doubt, there was strong reason for raising the age. If nomination were done away with, the right hon. Gentleman had not stated what system was to be substituted for it. The matter was one of great im- 208 portance, on which the Committee would like to hear a clear statement of the intentions of the right hon. Gentleman. He knew a number of naval officers who held a strong opinion that, if the course were shortened, there should be a different system of learning for cadets after they left the college. He was told it was the experience of officers in foreign navies that, when boys went to sea very late, they did not fall into the ways of sea life so readily as those that went to sea when they were younger. It was important to consider whether anything should be lost in efficiency by sending youths to sea at a later age; and what was to be the course of training for the youths after they became lieutenants.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
said he did not find himself in entire agreement with the views expressed by his late colleague, and possibly held by other late colleagues. He agreed with the noble and gallant Lord that there was a certain want of definiteness about the Admiralty scheme as it had been unfolded, and perhaps that was inevitable. But two points that were satisfactory stood out conspicuously. One was that the Admiralty was not proceeding in haste; indeed, the right hon. Gentleman admitted that he was in no hurry, that he was going to take all kinds of expert opinions, and that everything was going to be done with due deliberation. The other satisfactory part was that he recognised the desirability and even the necessity of seizing this opportunity to consider the subject of naval officers' education as a whole from the beginning to the end. Whatever was done with regard to the Britannia, a plan should be laid down which should have relation to the whole career of the young naval officer. A more dubious point was that of the question of the age of admission to the Britannia. He concurred with the noble Lord that this was a point on which it was desirable to be guided by the opinions of naval men rather than 209 by those of educationists; but to be of value there should be an almost unanimous consensus of opinion. If there was such a consensus of opinion in favour of raising the age, then the views of the First Lord would command his sympathy. He had been impressed by the theoretical arguments advanced, but unless he found there was, on the part of naval officers, a very considerable consensus of opinion that for the purpose of naval life you must have boys introduced at the present age, he should be inclined to accept the decision as to raising the age for admission. There was another point on which opinion would be divided in the House and in the country. On the question whether the present nomination system should be continued, naval opinion was cited on one side; but he declined to accept naval opinion on the question whether entrance to the profession should be denied to the son of any citizen. Experience had convinced him that the nomination style was a bad one in every way, that it caused considerable mischief, and that it did not secure any good end whatever. It gave certain youngsters an entirely false notion of their positions. Since he had expressed these opinions on a former occasion, he had had several communications from naval authorities expressing concurrence with him; and one of them was from Admiral Sir V. Hamilton who wrote:—I certainly agree with you as to the desirability of abolishing the system of nomination.Reference had been made to the evils of competition. They had those evils to a certain extent now; if they did not have competition they must have the mischievous system of personal selection. And in connection with this point there was a matter on which he found himself out of harmony with both the First Lord and his right hon. Friend and colleague, and that was the constant importation into this Debate of the phrase "public schools." Why was it desirable that the boys for the Navy should come from public schools? Was it from Eton and 210 Harrow and the so-called public schools, in the strictest sense of the word, that they wanted to draw the boys? If that was what they wanted he could quite understand their wishing to stick to the principle of nomination. Unless they wanted to limit the selection of officers to a small class he did not understand all the talk about public schools. There were many schools in which quite as good an education was given as was given at Eton and Harrow. The hon. member for Belfast had asked whether the circular which had been mentioned had been sent to Ireland. He had to ask whether it had been sent to Scotland?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said, that if the hon. Gentleman could inform him that there were Navy classes in Scotland circulars should be sent there.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
could name off-hand a dozen schools at which as good a general education and suitable for young naval officers was given as was given at Eton, Harrow, Winchester or any other of the so-called public schools. Edinburgh was full of such schools; there were three or four there. The little City of St. Andrews had a great School of the same sort. There was the Dundee High School, and many others. The Educational Institute of Scotland had formally protested against the education of canditates for cadetships being confined to the so-called public schools. If the phrase public school meant that any pupil could be sent up by paying the necessary fees he was quite satisfied, but everybody knew that when one spoke of public schools he meant nine schools in England. If the right hon. Gentleman was going to limit—
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said they did not limit it in any way. He had asked for advice, but he could not limit the applications for nominations to any particular schools.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
would be glad if he found he had misapprehended the 211 position. Reference had been made to the system of cramming. They would not get rid of cramming if they kept up the system of nominations. If, however, they abolished the system of nomination and allowed any school to send up candidates for cadetships without nomination, they would have more boys get in without cramming than did now.
said the hon. Member for Dundee advocated unlimited competition for the Navy. What a lovely proposal! How worthy of Dundee! [Laughter.] Such a competition would be unlimited in filling the lunatic asylums with boys of 14. He recommended the hon. Gentleman to study elementary physiology—[laughter]—which would teach him that the brain of a boy of 14 could not stand the strain of competitive examination for the Navy. Unlimited competition was bad enough for the Army. It meant 600 candidates for 160 vacancies. Did the hon. Member want to apply it also to the most popular Service under the Crown? No; the friends of the Service would not cease to protest against it as long as they had tongues in their heads. [Laughter.] It was a sweet Radical idea—this idea of unlimited competition—it was worthy of Dundee, but it would not go down with the Navy. [Laughter.] At any rate, the Service was safe for six years against those lovely Radical ideas. [Laughter.] The Committee appointed in 1885 by a Government of which the hon. Member for Dundee was a supporter, unanimously rejected the suggestion of open competition even at the age of 16. The hon. Member complained of the Scotch schools not being recognised in the nominations for the Navy. It was well known that the Scotch did not like the sailor's life; they preferred the Army life, but they did not as a rule go to sea. He had listened with admiration to the speech of the First Lord of the Admiralty. He was certain that the question of the education of young naval officers was safe in the hands of the right hon. 212 Gentleman. A mother had sent him the examination papers in Scripture, and had asked him to protest in the House against her son being asked such questions. [Laughter.] She said she could not answer such questions, and, what was more, she defied him to answer them. [Laughter.] Anyway, he did not try. The right, hon. Gentleman himself admitted that he could not answer many of the questions in those papers. Was it not absurd that in this matter they should be under the tyranny of Civil Service Examiners who were apparently unable to level themselves down to the minds of young persons, and who put such questions that mothers had to write to Members of Parliament in protest? [Laughter.] He hoped the head masters of schools would put down those ridiculous examination papers. The present Council of Naval Education should include the captains of the Excellent gunnery school and the captain of the Vernon torpedo school to make it really effective for good. He would not speak as to the College, and he did not care if the foundation was never laid, but he would quote the opinion, in 1875, of a distinguished Member of that House on the question as to whether there should be a Britannia ashore or afloat, who said that he was perfectly unprejudiced in regard to the matter, but having heard the evidence pro and con, and especially the statement of the First Lord of the Admiralty as regarded the salubrity of Dartmouth, he had come to the conclusion that on that ground the selection was not satisfacfactory. The evidence with regard to the relaxing nature of the climate had been uncontradicted, and it was very desirable that an institution of this kind should be placed in a bracing and healthy place. The speaker was the First Lord of the Admiralty, and that showed that there might be two views of the question. With regard to the system of education on board the Britannia, what was wanted was a special 213 steam launch constructed for training purposes, and he believed the Admiralty, on the recommendation of the officer at the head of the Britannia, were constructing a launch by means of which a considerable number of young officers might be properly taught the elementary work of managing a steam engine. If the defects were remedied, he thought there was much to be said in favour of the present system. He was of opinion that naval officers were very good judges as to the way in which young officers should be trained. He was strongly in favour of raising the age of lads to 15½ years, if not 16. In these days of the practical abolition of sails, it was important that boys should come in at a later age, and the tone and discipline should be naval and not scholastic, as was recommended by the Committee appointed in 1885. That Committee made recommendations entirely in opposition to the views of the right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary to the Admiralty. He suggested that the First Lord of the Admiralty should try the experiment of sending a certain number of the senior lads straight into the Northampton, where there might be a naval instructor to train them. When he himself joined the Navy there was no limit of age, and he had never gone to the Britannia. He had known young men who went to sea at 17, and turned out splendid officers. If they filled the Britannia with lads of 15½ years of age—an age which might afterwards be raised to 16—there would be very great difficulty in controlling them without naval discipline. On the question of public schools he found himself very much in accord with the hon. Member for Dundee. In his opinion, not only should the ordinary schools not be excluded, but also, he urged, that any child whose parents chose to have him educated at home without going to any public school should not be excluded either. He held in his hand a remarkable statement about a remarkable man—the late Arch- 214 deacon Denison. It was to the effect that after various experiences of private schools he was sent to Eton for a couple of years, from which, however, he emerged at 14 without having derived much advantage, according to his own account, from the famous school; and that his future success in life he traced to the four years he spent subsequently at home under the tuition of a Mr. Drury. He was justified, therefore, in saying that too much stress should not be laid on the advantages of public school training. For his own part, he rejoiced to say that he never was at a public school in his life, except the best of all public schools—he went straight to the Navy, which was the best school in the world. He still thought it was worthy of attention whether the age should not be further raised to 16 and whether they should not try the experiment of sending a score of cadets to sea in the Northampton, to be trained under the captain of that ship. They would then be able to compare the relative advantages of the two systems. However, he was sure the whole question was safe in the right hon. Gentleman's hands.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
said his hon. and gallant friend had probably never heard of the system of open and unlimited competition in connection with the Eton College Foundation. Yet the collegers were certainly not milksops, but in the cricket field and on the river they held their own against all comers, and they had turned out some of the greatest athletes and most distinguished scholars in the world. That alone showed that the hon. and gallant Gentleman altogether exaggerated the danger to the Navy which the open competition system would produce. There was one thing which ought to be guarded against if open competition for the Navy were to be adopted, and we must prevent the agents of foreign Governments from gaining admission into the inner circles of our Service, where they might make use of the information they 215 obtained for the benefit of the enemies of our country. If that were guarded against, he believed that open competition would give us even a better class of young men for the Navy than the system of nomination did. Before he sat down he should like to say a word with regard to the system of cramming to which some hon. Members had referred. Some of the greatest evils of cramming were caused by the bad character of the examination. Under the present system no doubt we obtained a number of the best men, but what we had to guard against was the admission of the lowest-class men under the cramming system. That was entirely the fault of the character of the examinations. On the whole he thought that in the long run the Navy would have to adopt the system of open competition.
*CAPTAIN PHILLPOTTS (Devon, Torquay)
said that in his opinion the course of training which our young officers went through did not tend to develop those qualities our Naval officers formerly possessed. It had been said that English Naval officers were behind foreign officers in scientific attainments. For his own part he greatly doubted the truth of that assertion, but, at the same time, he thought that steps might be taken which would make our young Naval officers more efficient than they were at present. Some people appeared to think that Naval officers could learn everything that they were required to know from books, but that was a mistake. The young officer must be trained up in habits of discipline and responsibility, so that he learned to obey and to command at the same time. He was thus qualified to rely upon his own judgment and resources in time of difficulty, which was a most important quality in the use who lived a seafaring life. With regard to open competition, notwithstanding what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, 216 he could not help thinking that there was great risk in. subjecting very young boys to the pressure of competitive examination. In his view they ought to make their educational standard a high one, and should see that the boys were well grounded in the subjects in which they were examined and were properly trained. The class from which the Naval officers were drawn must be to a certain degree limited. It was a very great mistake to suppose that a man could join the Navy without private means. The country could not pay a high enough rate of remuneration to the Naval officer to enable him to support himself without private means. He trusted that whatever might be done, no attempt would be made to abolish the form of nomination that now existed.
§ *MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
said that the question at issue was between those schools at which a normal healthy education was given to boys, and those schools at which, under special and unhealthy surroundings, in many ways bad for the whole moralé and future of the boys, special instruction was given. The object of any scheme ought to be to discourage teaching of that sort and to get the boys into schools where a good moral and intellectual education was given. The question was, where were they to get that education? There were strong reasons why they should not be kept at preparatory schools after the age of 14. The age from 14 to 15 was the most critical time of a boy's life, and he knew of his own knowledge that the masters of the great public schools felt that if they could get the boys to come for even that short period they could make a serious impression on their character, and that the boys would get great good from a sojourn in public schools. If the age could be raised to 16 the advantage to be gained would be all the greater. The accepted theory now was not to specialise too soon, and he thought the principle to be laid down in establishing a system of exami- 217 nations for the Navy was to make them correspond to those the ordinary boy in his normal course through school had to pass, without requiring any specific professional subjects. There would be found a willingness on the part of the authorities of the public schools to form a Naval class. It had been said that mathematics were not well taught at public schools, but he thought that difficulty could be got over with a very little encouragement from the Admiralty. It would be perfectly easy to make Greek an optional subject and to give extra mathematics in its place.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said that he appreciated very much the spirit in which the conclusions of the Government had been received by the Committee. He had been pressed to state his views with regard to the education of young officers after they had left the Britannia. No definite plan had been drawn up by the Admiralty, and it was in his mind to appoint a committee of officers who had been at sea to consider the question, and by their views he should be largely guided. It was an extremely difficult question, which could only be properly dealt with by men who were fresh from service at sea, and who knew from experience how the present system worked. With regard to the Naval Council of Education, the Admiralty had already under consideration the point whether the Council ought not to be strengthened by the presence of the Captains of the Excellent and Vernon as voting members. He thought that masters of public schools would be prepared to accept boys who intended to go into the Navy if the limit of age were enlarged. There had been isolated cases in the past of boys entering the Navy straight from public schools. The Captains of the Vernon and Britannia, who came straight from Eton, were distinguished instances. On the subject of the nomination system, he might observe that the late Government were for some time in office but did not see their way, notwithstanding the presence of the hon. Member for Dundee, to abolish that system. He did not think it probable that the present Government would take a different view, for he 218 should be afraid of the result of unlimited competition for ads at the early age of 14.
§ SIR J. COLOMB,
referring to what had been said about the attainments of the lads who competed successfully for foundation scholarships at Eton, observed that in after life they mostly became professors and tutors. They were generally bookish men; but naval officers ought to possess all-round qualifications. In his opinion, the balance of argument was entirely in favour of the principle laid down on the subject by the head of the Admiralty. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman contemplated the appointment of a committee of officers who had been at sea to consider the question of education. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would also consider whether, in the Education Vote of the Navy, there should not also be included the total cost of the education of the naval service generally. He objected to the arbitrary limitation placed in the Estimates as to what was education for the effective services of the Navy. The officers undergoing training in the Excellent or in the different torpedo establishments ought to be charged to the Education Vote instead of the general effective service of the Navy. Consideration might also be given to what the country obtained from the large expenditure on the education of marine officers. The proposed Committee, according to the right hon. Gentleman, was to be composed of officers who had been at sea; but he invited the right hon. Gentleman to note that if he took the officers in the gunnery branch of the Marine Artillery and the Navy between the ages of 20 and 30 he would probably find many instances of marine officers with more sea service than the others. It was desirable, therefore, to consider, in view of the scientific training of a body like the Marine Artillery, whether it would not be advisable to include on the Committee some Marine Artillery officers who had been more at sea than the naval officers themselves.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.