§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (Mr. J. W. LOWTHER, Cumberland, Penrith, in the Chair.)
§ Clause 1:—
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
I think it may be convenient, and shorten proceedings, if I indicate now what I am quite prepared to do, supposing it is the general wish of the Committee. During the Debate on the Second Reading several hon. Members, including the Leader of the Opposition, and the hon. and learned Member for Dundee, set great store upon having inserted into the schedule of the Bill the Paper circulated as a White Paper, on the ground that it would give the House more control over the expenditure. I think myself that there is ample opportunity for controlling the sums advanced to the War Office under this Bill, but as they insist upon having that schedule in the Act, I am quite prepared to accept the Amendment on the Paper which stands in the name of the hon. Member 569 for East Aberdeenshire. If I do that, I trust that I may fairly expect that hon. Members will raise their discussions on questions of policy on the Schedule, and not as they would have been driven to do somewhat awkwardly on the earlier portion of the Bill.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I admit the hon. Member the Under Secretary for War has made a very important concession. I think all the Amendments were so framed as to give an opportunity to the House to discuss the information contained in the White Paper. If the hon. Gentleman adopts the White Paper as a Schedule to the Bill, the opportunity will be open to the Committee of discussing the details in the ordinary way.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
I am glad to see that my hon. friend has, to a certain extent, given way in respect to affording more information, by placing the White Paper in the Schedule. But I really think that we should have some further information about this Bill. I will not go over the ground again, that the War Office has departed from every precedent in regard to these loans, I will not touch upon the four millions at all, but I will take the question of the one million for earth works. If there be some extraordinary reason for objecting to give information in regard to the places on which this million is to be spent, we ought to have it stated in the House. It is a curious thing to withhold information about earthworks. Armaments are not in this Vote at all. The Vote is merely a million for earthworks. It is a mystery, for the Government will not tell us where the earthworks are to be.
* THE CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Gentleman objects, as I understand him, to the item in the Schedule for defence works, he ought to reserve his criticism until we reach that item in the Schedule.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
As I understand it, the hon. Member does not object to the item, but he wants details. There is an Amendment on the Paper upon which that question will be raised, if it is in order. Unless it is in order, however, we shall have to discuss the matter item by item.
* THE CHAIRMAN
So far as I see at present, there is no objection to that; but if the Committee insert anything in the Bill, before that particular Amendment is reached, something may occur which may make it out of order.
* THE CHAIRMAN
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman wishes to reduce the whole sum by 1,000,000, certainly. But if he is going to discuss particular defence works, and how this money is to be applied to these, he will only be in order on the Schedule.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
On a point of order, the hon. Member the Under Secretary for War told us, in introducing the resolution on which this Bill is based, that the money was to be expended on five different classes of work. But unless we get certain information in regard to the nature of that classification, and to the proportion of the money to be devoted to each class, I will propose to reduce the sum by 1,000,000. I want your ruling, Mr. Lowther, on that point.
* THE CHAIRMAN
It is almost impossible to give a decision on that point, because I have not heard the hon. and gallant Member. I can only say that detailed criticism must clearly come on the details in the Schedule. If the hon. Member thinks that three millions would be enough, and not the four millions in the Bill, he may move a reduction of a million.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfarshire)
There is a point antecedent to this. The Under-Secretary for War has now agreed to put in the Schedule the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire, but that does not include the million for defence works. I want to move to leave out the million for defence works at whatever time is convenient to the Committee.
* THE CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Gentleman objects to spending a million on defence works, the proper time to take it is when these works are reached.
§ SIR J. COLOMB
Then, I suppose I will be in order to move to reduce this Vote by a million, but not in order to give my reasons for it.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I have not said that. The proper time to give reasons against a particular Vote is when the particular Vote objected to is reached.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
I will confine myself to the reasons why I object to this vote on broad general grounds of policy. We have been told that there are five classes of expenditure on which this million is to be spent. These are—principal naval bases, secondary naval bases, coaling stations, commercial ports, and defence works. In my humble judgment, the War Office does not seem to have a particularly clear notion as to the principles which have ruled, and must always rule, naval warfare. How they have reached this classification I cannot say. But I do say, that for a Power having the mastery of the sea, and having already spent many millions upon defence works at naval bases and maritime ports, it requires more explanation than we have yet had, why we want to spend a million more for works alone, without armaments, for our naval bases. The War Office has got to make out much more clearly and distinctly than they have done why they want this million, and on what principle they want it. There is another point; you are coming for a million to be spent at naval ports, but we are not told where these naval, ports are. I want to know whether you are following out the principle established in 1884, and strictly adhered to under the Imperial Defence Act in 1888. All these works must necessarily be either at home or abroad in our territories, or colonies and dependencies. In 1884 the principle was laid down that where we were going to arm or defend a naval port in the colonies, the works and buildings should be provided at the Colonial expense, and the armaments provided by the Imperial Government. And that principle was also applied in the Imperial Defence Act of 1888. I want to know why that principle should be departed from, if it has been departed from. If it has been departed from, then this million must be going to be spent in the United Kingdom.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member is now clearly discussing the character of the defence works. The proper time to do that is when the million set down in the Schedule for defence works is reached.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
I was only discussing whether we have departed from the principle laid down in the Acts of 1884 and 1888.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The mistake which the hon. and gallant gentleman makes is that when he is asked to vote this four millions he thinks he is also asked to vote a million for defence works. But until that particular million for defence works is reached in the schedule he cannot discuss it.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
Then I will defer my observations on that point until the million in the Schedule is reached; but as a solemn protest against the whole matter, I beg to move the reduction of the four millions in the first clause of the Bill, by one million.
In page 1, line 8, to leave out the word 'four' in order to insert the word 'three.'"—(Sir J. Colomb.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'four' stand part of the clause."
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I am thoroughly at one with the hon. and gallant Member on this subject, and I wish to support him in getting details of the expenditure of this million which I think ought to be given, and which it would be most dangerous to refuse. But I think we should have a rather confused issue if we raised the point at this particular moment, and I will ask him not to press it now.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
I suppose this is the proper moment for shewing that the Government might have spent their money in a better way than they propose. In the discussion in the early part of the session, we had a promise from the Financial Secretary of War, when this Bill was introduced, that there would be contained in it a sum of £100,000 for barracks in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh.
§ Amendment by leave withdrawn.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The Amendment I wish to move is, after the word "issued," in line 14, to add—Provided that out of the above sum not less than one hundred thousand pounds be expended upon barracks in and near Edinburgh.When, on the 23rd April, we were discussing the Army Estimates and the Vote for barracks, the question arose as to the barracks at Piershill. We called attention to the very in sanitary condition of these barracks and other barracks in Scotland, and my hon. friend near me moved a reduction of the Vote in order to bring the matter to a Division. The hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the War Office told us that inquiry would be made in regard to Piershill, and as regards the more general matter we had brought up he said, "It may comfort the hon. Member to know that there is a proposal in the Barracks Bill for an expenditure of £100,000 for the improvement of the barrack accommodation in the city of Edinburgh." I asked him if that included Piershill, and he said, "Yes." Upon that announcement the hon. Member for North Aberdeen was induced to withdraw his Amendment. I think we were all somewhat surprised when this Bill was produced, with the White Paper attached, to find that instead of proposing £100,000, there was only £25,000 for Edinburgh and a sum not named for Leith Fort. Our case is this in Scotland, that, while we need a much smaller military establishment than any other part of the country, we think we have a claim that the barracks we have should a any rate be quite up to the average, 574 and not allowed to fall below the average of sanitary and inhabitable condition. The case we made out as to Piershill and other barracks was unanswerable. The Under Secretary for War will admit the fact that Piershill is in a very insanitary condition. Later on, in another discussion, the Under Secretary himself laid down the canon of a good barrack, that it should be a good barrack in itself, with a good practising ground near it, and not more than 100 years old. Piershill is more than 100 years old, there is no practising ground near it, and it is in a very insanitary condition, and you will have to look forward to building an entirely new barrack. There are other strong cases in Scotland, such as Leith Fort, and Fort George, which are very insanitary. I understand that the Government are only keeping men at Fort George until the new barracks at Salisbury Plain are finished. Then, Edinburgh Castle is not in a good condition, although no doubt there is a good deal of sentiment in connection with that ancient stronghold. The extension of the barracks in Edinburgh should be outside the Castle itself, and good, new, healthily constructed buildings should be erected. After having got the promise of the Financial Secretary for War that he would insert £100,000 in the Loans Bill, we naturally concluded that the Secretary for War was going to take steps to put the barracks in Scotland into a proper condition, and we were satisfied for the moment. I hope we shall get some assurance that he is going to fulfil the promise that was made, and that he will modify this Bill in the direction of my Amendment.
In page 1, line 14, at the end of the Clause, to add the words 'provided that out of the above sum not less than one hundred thousand pounds be expended upon barracks in and near Edinburgh.'"—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N)
I am in entire agreement in one particular with my hon. friend the member for East Aberdeenshire, so far as regards the wish of most Scotch Members that we should not have very large barracks. What we do wish, however, is that the barracks in 575 Scotland should be in proportion to the other barracks in the United Kingdom, and that the sums spent upon them should be adequate. It is an undoubted truth that the barracks in Scotland are the most tumble-down, most ram-shackle places for the accommodation of troops in the whole United Kingdom. I wish that everyone in Scotland should read the figures I am going to give the Committee. The total sum voted in the Bill of 1897, and in the present Bill, is £9,000,000, £5,000,000 of which is to be spent on barrack accommodation and ranges in the United Kingdom. Out of that, in round figures, four and a quarter millions are to be spent in England, and three-quarters of a million in Ireland. The small residue to be spent in Scotland by this great and magnanimous country for the housing of the troops in Scotland is £65,000. I can only call such conduct as that the very height and depth of niggardliness. I do say that, if the Scottish Members were doing their duty to their country, although such things were allowed to exist in the past, they would unanimously insist on having this grievance redressed in the future. I know that some Scottish Members will not rest until we have justice done in this regard. I, myself, lately paid a visit to Stirling Castle, where I found the Government, in order to save a few pounds a year, is giving up the old historical castles of Scotland to uses to which they ought not to be put. I went into the old historical banqueting hall of the Scottish kings in Stirling Castle—a banqueting hall, which in any other country would be a place of interest and affection to the people of the country—and I found it made use of as a dry canteen, with a billiard table at one end and a grocery bar at the other. Such conduct and treatment as that I call nothing less than shameful. Then, in Edinburgh Castle what has been done. A modern ugly building has been placed on the crown of the grand rock, which is an eyesore to the whole city. The barrack building is like a prison, and the story is told that the engineer who designed it was directed to prepare a building with accommodation for so many troops, and that he did not know where it was to be erected, and in fact he had never even been there. Again, take the married soldiers' quarters. They are away from the barracks, and are a disgrace to the 576 city. When there is only £65,000 devoted to barracks in Scotland and £5,000,000 to barracks in England and Ireland, I am surprised that any Government can be found which allows such a state of affairs to exist. Still more am I surprised that the Scottish Members do not stand up and object as strongly as they possibly can to such a stingy wrong and to such unjust treatment.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
I can quite understand the disappointment expressed by the hon. Member who moved this Amendment at the fact that we are not now under this Bill to make provision for the improvement of Piershill barracks, or to substitute for them better buildings. To a great extent I share that disappointment. I fully recognise that Piershill is not all that a cavalry or any other barrack should be. But I cannot admit with justice that it is insanitary, I have gone carefully into this matter, and I find that all the information placed at my disposal does not show that the barracks are unhealthy. There are no drainage diseases among the troops. I admit that the buildings are very uncomfortable and inadequate, and I wish I was in a position to say that under this Bill we were going to take powers to remedy the matter. But, having said that, I should like to clear up a misunderstanding that has arisen as to what was said by the Financial Secretary earlier in the session. I put it on all fours with an observation which I interjected in the Debate, also in reply to the same hon. Gentleman earlier in the year. He will recollect I said we should want £5,000,000 for barracks, and that we were working out a complete scheme. Well, in that complete scheme there is a sum of £45,000 for Piershill Barracks. The hon. Member may say, "Why, if you recognise that this sum is necessary for Piershill, do you not put it in the Bill?" The chief objection to that is, that we have added units to Infantry and Artillery, but not to Cavalry; and therefore we have had to make first provision for Infantry and Artillery barracks. The hon. Member says that patching will not do, and that for £45,000 we could only repair the barracks. But in order to substitute new barracks, we must have taken £160,000. We were not prepared to take that large sum. As to the sum to be expended in Scotland, no doubt Scotland suffered from our 577 not being able to go in for our whole scheme at once. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen pointed out that, under the Act of 1897 and this Bill, we are only giving £65,000 to Scotland; but under the complete scheme, which includes this Bill and the Act of 1897, there would be £45,000 for Piershill, and sums for the barracks at Hamilton and other places, making in all£120,000 for Scotland. I naturally do not want to ride a principle to death. Still, we must have regard to the principle of concentration, much more than to popularity in particular towns. I must ask the Committee to consider the economical argument. In order to bring all the barracks in towns up to a proper modern standard, we should have to spend millions; bat at Salisbury Plain we have already a site where we can build better barracks, and where also, by means of concentration, the troops can be made more efficient. On these grounds, therefore, of efficiency, concentration, and a regard to the pockets of the taxpayers, we cannot attach the importance we should like to the arguments of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)
An extraordinary statement was made by the hon. Gentleman, that this Bill was necessary, because of the increase in the Infantry and Artillery in the Army. Now, we showed the other day that only twenty-four men had been added to the Army and Militia, and the slight increase in the line is not enough to demand new barracks.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
Admitting that, for the sake of argument, the hon. Member must see that you cannot put fragments of two battalions in one barrack.
§ MR. WARNER
If small battalions necessarily increase the number of barracks, that only strengthens our case. The only object in dividing these battalions up, besides as it affects your paper Army, which is absolutely unimportant, is that you should have some representative battalion in each district of the country. That only increases the 578 strength of the case for having barracks in Scotland. I am sorry to hear that this money for barracks is rendered necessary by the breaking up of the army into small battalions. What increase in the army there has been, the most of it has gone abroad, and we have not anything like 12,000 more men than we had five years ago.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The hon. Gentleman says that we must go on the principle of concentration, and not on that of popularity. I entirely demur to the statement that I had been mentioning the case of Piershill from the point of view of local popularity or electioneering. Piers-hill is not in my own constituency. I do not like to say much about military matters, not being a soldier myself, and I do not know the ropes very well. But there-construction of Piershill barracks has been urged, time after time, by the General Officer commanding in the Edinburgh district, particularly in respect that they are inadequate for a whole cavalry regiment, and have no exercise ground near them. And I believe that the Commander-in-Chief has backed up that demand, and urged it upon the attention of the War Office, on the ground that it has now been determined by the War Office that one cavalry regiment should be permanently stationed in Scotland. Piershill cannot contain a whole regiment, and you are obliged to keep one squadron at Maryhill. Surely it is indefensible to maintain an old barrack like this, when it will not contain a full regiment. I am told by military men that the fact of there being no exercise ground at or near Piershill affects the discipline of the men, and it takes two or three months for a cavalry regiment, after it leaves Piershill, to be brought into a proper state of efficiency. I do not think a stronger case could be made out in favour of building new barracks than at Piershill. Besides that, we have the promise of the Financial Secretary. In was not an interjected observation; it was part of a speech made by him, and we took it as a promise made to the House. I cannot make out that that promise would be fulfilled by a reference to Schedule B. Schedule B is no part of this Bill, and we do not want it to be. Schedule B is a pious opinion as to what the Secretary for War, or his successor, may do three or 579 four years hence; and to carry out any of the works included in that Schedule another Bill will be required. I therefore cannot do otherwise than divide the House on this proposal.
§ MR. PIRIE
I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman did not mean to impute that we were seeking popularity by the course we are pursuing. There are one or two points which I desire to clear up in reference to Scotch barracks, especially the Piershill barracks. I understood it was the intention to withdraw the cavalry regiment. I have seen barracks for cavalry regiments in Ireland to which Piershill Barracks would be an absolute shame. Surely, if in Dublin and other parts of Ireland thousands and thousands of pounds are to be spent on barracks, we might have something more than £45,000 for these barracks in Scotland. We are told that we shall probably get £110,000 or £120,000 for barracks in Scotland, but I would point out that there is £750,000 put clown for Ireland. The hon. Gentleman made use of the argument that concentration demanded that little money should be spent in Scotland. There are people who advocate that the Scottish district should be made the headquarters, but surely we are entitled to receive at least the same treatment as other districts. We have several sites for large camps, and one of our camps is never furnished with the number of troops in the summer which it can accommodate; and until we see our resources made the best use of we cannot do otherwise than continue to raise such points as we are raising to-night. I maintain that the troops quartered in Scotland have a right to the same treatment as those in any other part of the United Kingdom. This neglect of the just demand of Scotland is not only exemplified as regards this point, but very little indeed of the £3,000,000 for naval works will be spent in Scotland.
§ * MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
I desire to draw the attention of the Government to the desirability of establishing barracks in Dingwall. Dingwall is the
§ county town of Ross-shire. It might be called the cradle of the Seaforth Highlanders. The people there are justly proud of their gallant and distinguished Highland regiment. If it be an object of the War Office to strengthen the Army by the enlistment of Highlanders, there can be no doubt that the erection of suitable barracks for the Seaforths in Dingwall would tend greatly to facilitate the realisation of that object, for it would give an impetus to recruiting in the Highlands. I think that is a circumstance which ought not to be lost sight of by the War Office. What is the present condition of things with regard to Dingwall? You have barracks at Fort George, about thirty miles from Dingwall,—a very inconvenient and entirely isolated station. This renders the transport of the battalions very expensive indeed.
Order, order! I find that the words of the Amendment are "in or near Edinburgh." The hon. Member is therefore out of order in referring to Dingwall.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
With regard to Piershill barracks, they are in such an insanitary and unsuitable condition that when they are examined it will be found that the cost of putting them into proper condition will be more than they are worth, and you will probably require to have new barracks erected at a cost of £150,000. Whatever the views of the War Office may be, I suppose they will have to deal with the Treasury, and as far as Scotland is concerned we cannot expect to be treated in a fair manner by the Treasury. But this is a matter affecting the health of the troops. The barracks are utterly unsuitable, and we have no business to take men into the army and lodge them worse than we lodge prisoners. I hope the War Office will bring pressure to bear on the Treasury to get them to put these barracks into decent condition at any rate.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 47; Noes, 124. (Division List, No. 312.)581
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-und.-Lyme||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Crilly, Daniel|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Broadhurst, Henry||Davitt, Michael|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. J Blair(Clackm||Caldwell, James||Dewar, Arthur|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Channing, Francis Allston||Dillon, John|
|Billson, Alfred||Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Donelan, Captain A|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley||Leng, Sir John||Steadman, William Charles|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Macaleese, Daniel||Strachey, Edward|
|Hazell, Walter||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Hedderwick, Thomas Charles H||M'Leod, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hogan, James Francis||Maddison, Fred.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Holden, Sir Angus||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Williams, John Carvell (Notts)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Pirie.|
|Lambert, George||Shaw, Chas. E. (Staffrod)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fletcher. Sir Henry||Morrison, Walter|
|Arnold, Alfred||Flower, Ernest||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Garfit, William||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Bute)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gedge, Sydney||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Gilliat, John Saunders||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bethell, Commander||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Blundell, (Colonel Henry||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Bond, Edward||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hamond, Sir Chas. (Newcastle)||Purvis, Robert|
|Brassey, Albert||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Rbt. Wm.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hare. Thomas Leigh||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Brook field, A. Montagu||Hatch, Ernest Fred. Geo.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Heaton, John Henniker||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Butcher, John George||Henderson, Alexander||Round, James|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Hill, Arthur (Down, West)||Rutherford, John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstd.)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thomas M.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Howard, Joseph||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Charrington, Spencer||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Johnston. William (Belfast)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Kimber, Henry||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready||Lawrence. Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Strauss, Arthur|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Thornton, Percy M,|
|Cox, Irwin Edward(Bain bridge)||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw H.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Curzon, Viscount||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Denny, Colonel||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm|
|Dilke Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Lowe, Francis William||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Doughty, George||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Macdona, John Cumming||Wylie, Alexander|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Maclure, Sir John William||Wyndham, George|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||M'Killop, James||Young, Commander(Berks, E.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William H.||Milton, Viscount|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Monk, Charles James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Finch, George H.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sir William Walrond and|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Morrell, George Herbert|
§ MR. WARNER
The object of the Amendment which I propose to move is to give the House some idea of where the money voted in this Bill goes to. The Schedule is very meagre and very insufficient, and my Amendment will enable the House to see where the money voted is to be spent, and how much is to be spent on different places abroad. There are a variety of ways of spending money under this Bill, and in some cases, perhaps, money may be spent uselessly, which the House would be sure to find fault with if it had an opportunity. Therefore, I think it is very essential 582 that before money is expended the details should be placed on the table of the House of Commons. There was a case the other day which was very ably, brought forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth as to the extraordinary manner in which the Engineering Department spent money at Esquimalt. It was only by chance, and by the very careful work of the hon. and gallant Member, that this matter ever came before the House. If my Amendment be carried, the House will have an opportunity of finding out about such jobs as that wich 583 was carried out in that case. Of course it may be said that foreign Powers would know where we are spending this money, but that is an old excuse. The fortifications proposed abroad have been described by the hon. Gentlemen as platforms for guns. These are things that can be so easily seen even by ships passing by, and you have to employ such a large number of men on the works that it is perfectly ridiculous to say that foreign Powers would not find out what was going on. Such an argument cannot really be seriously held. Then again there are several places where we object to money being spent, such as Wei-hai-wei, but if a blank cheque is drawn for this money it may be spent there. We had a long discussion this afternoon as to Nigeria. Have we any guarantee that the banks of the Niger are not to be fortified? This is a serious question, because the War Office has not always been careful, and has put up works where they were not wanted. Even in England we have the Martello towers, and we have had cases ever since of defensive works being put up all over the world which have proved useless. I think the House ought to have a right to investigate the expenditure of this large sum of money, and I therefore propose to add in Clause 1, page 1, line 14, after "issued" the following words, "But no expenditure shall be incurred under this Act abroad until twenty-one days after a Return of such expenditure has been laid on the Table stating the place where such expenditure is to be made." I move the Amendment in order that this House should have some power of complaining about what is proposed to be done if it does not approve of it. There is one argument which may be used against the Amendment, and that is that the House is not always sitting; but no works are going to be suddenly put up. The works are to last for many years, and we ought to now know what we are going to do during the six months after the rising of the House. Next year there will be plenty of time to lay on the Table all the details we require. It would not be necessary to deal with every item, but the sum to be expended and the place, should be given to the House before the money is expended. I hope the Amendment will be accepted.
In page 1, line 14, after 'issued' to insert But no expenditure shall be incurred under this Act abroad until twenty-one days after a
return of such expenditure has been laid on the Table stating the place where such expenditure is to be made."—(Mr. Warner.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I am afraid I shall not be able to accept the Amendment. I would point out to the hon. Member that his Amendment is a great deal wider than his speech. All his arguments had reference only to defence works, but the Amendment lays down that the House is to take cognisance of and control expenditure abroad. I would point out that I have already put down a great many more details in the Bill than it originally contained. I would also remind the hon. Member that I have promised to give the House every year the approximate amount spent in the previous year, and the estimated amount to be spent in the existing year. A Return is also given to the Public Accounts Committee each year as to barracks, and every shilling spent during the year under that head is accounted for, and through that channel the House will get information as to the manner in which those sums are expended. The Amendment of the hon. Member is really an alternative proposal for control. This Bill is a continuation of the Act of 1897, and we have followed the precedent of that Act, the principle of which was Treasury control. The plan which we now adopt has been pursued for eleven years. It is to pass the scheme and then to give control to the Treasury. Moreover, the House has already affirmed that principle, because it has not only passed the Second Reading of the Bill, which embodies this precedent and not the precedent of the Naval Works Act; but the Committee has this evening passed lines which recite the provisions of the Military Works Act of 1897. And I cannot think that the Committee, having affixed its sanction to one plan of control, will now suddenly add on the top of it another plan which is almost inconsistent with it and could not give the House any more power. The hon. Member has also anticipated another strong argument, and that is that this House does not sit for a considerable period of the year. Supposing, under this form of Treasury control, we give each year full details, it is for the Treasury to judge whether our proposals are economical or not.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I feel very strongly the refusal of the Government 585 to give the House of Commons the information as to these "defence works," and I think that we should mention the fact on this Amendment because there are those among us who do not like to take the responsibility of voting on these words. I do not believe in the necessity for concealment in regard to this matter. Such concealment is not practised by other nations, although it is perfectly true that they keep people away from their fortifications, but that is a different thing from attempting to conceal the places where money is to be spent. It appears to me perfectly idle on the part of the Government to adopt such a policy. Nobody is kept in the dark by it except the House itself, and I myself do not believe that the object of it is to prevent foreign Powers from knowing it, but merely the House of Commons. There are some very delicate matters to be considered when you are settling the places where you are going to put men and guns, and those delicate and difficult questions are just the questions which this House desires to discuss, and I cannot help thinking that the Government has an interest in concealing these matters from the House of Commons. I am so persuaded of the importance of knowing on what class of places it is intended that this defence money shall be spent, that I must support the Amendment of my hon. friend who sits beside me. I will put the matter plainly. My main objection would be met, as would the objections of many hon. Members on this side, if the Under Secretary would make a clean breast of the thing to-night and would tell us what the intentions of the Government are in this matter. The annual Return which is promised will give us no details with regard to the main ground of this large expenditure. I heartily support the proposal contended for by my hon. friend.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
My hon. friend the Under Secretary has stated that in this matter the Government are following the precedent of 1888. I have not had the opportunity of referring to that Act since my hon. friend addressed the House, but the point is, in my opinion, not so much whether it is contained in the Schedule or not, but whether the House should have the information from authoritative sources. I would point out to my hon. friend that he is wrong if he supposes that on that occasion the House of Commons had not the full information before it when it was asked to vote that money. 586 If he refers to the memorandum of the Estimates of the year 1888–9, he will find a statement there at page 16, showing that it was then considered essential that the House of Commons should know it gives the names of the places and the estimated cost of the works and buildings, and the barracks and the estimated cost of the heavy guns and quick-firing guns and ammunition, etc.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR
I think that the question we are discussing is a wider one than would appear from the Amendment itself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean has given meacue, because he drew a contrast between defence works and guns. I cannot follow the Under Secretary for War in the contrast he drew between the control of this House of Commons and that of the Treasury; but perhaps as that refers to the Military Works Act of 1897, that may be more conveniently discussed on a later Amendment. I think this House ought to have full control over the expenditure, though I am afraid the Amendment before the Committee will be ineffective in that respect. There are two classes of Papers which are laid on the Table of this House, one of which does not become effective until it has lain on the Table a certain number of days, and therefore would not allow that criticism of the procedure which is indicated by my hon. Friend's Amendment.
§ MR. WARNER
I know very well that this Amendment will not be effective in giving all the control we should like to have, but we get some control by it, and if it is pressed we should get the advantage of knowing what is going on. I know it is only half a loaf, but that is better than no bread, and although the House could not stop this particular expenditure, it could make it unpleasant for the right hon. Gentleman, and that would curtail the expenditure. I moved this Amendment in its present mild form in the hope that the Government would accept it; but if they will not accept these words I will accept any others which will give us the same opportunity.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I perceive the object of my hon. friend, but I do not think his Amendment will carry it out. We have no reason to believe anything else than that all the money of which we have no details is going to be spent abroad, but we want more particulars than we have got. What I venture to point out is that if we can get more de- 587 tails, we shall in that way probably get more effective control than we shall by this Amendment.
§ Question put and negatived
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR
The Amendment which I desire to move is on the defence works. The Government has drawn a rigid distinction in this Bill between money provided for buildings and that provided for defence works. When we come to the defence works in the Schedule we find there are no data whatever. Comparing the two administrations, we find that of the Navy has in a high degree the confidence of the country, which that of the Army has not. That is due to its being the rule of the Admiralty to give the details of Navy expenditure. It might be worth while for the War Office to take similar steps with regard to defence works. There is no justification, either on grounds of national safety or otherwise, for this concealment. There is no reason why details should not be given. I quite agree that it is inconvenient to raise the question in this way, but as the Bill is drawn there is no other way of doing so. There is no doubt whatever that during the last ten or fifteen years two things have been steadily going on. In the first place, there has been a very large increase in our military and naval expenditure; and, in the second place, there has been, and is at the present time, less desire in the House to criticise that expenditure. I translate that into loss of that minute control which, I maintain, it is so essential that the House should retain. I do not believe that the Treasury is able, unless it is supported by this House, to exercise that control which ought to be exercised over the great spending Departments of the State; neither do I believe that there is any justification whatever for withholding information in respect of those works from the House. I say this House is shirking the responsibility which it alone can exercise, and that every information should be laid before it, in order that it may be able to criticise the policy of the Government.
In page 2, line 9, to leave out the words—
§ —(Captain Sinclair.)588
§ Question proposed—"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
We have now arrived at the very marrow of the discussion. Does not the Under Secretary recognise this, by taking this million in connection with the new departure in China, where we know expenditure out of Estimates has already been incurred? Taking these things into consideration, I would ask my hon. friend whether he would not shorten the discussion by simply telling us whether the Government intend to spend any portion of this £1,000,000 at Wei-hai-wei, and if so, I do not ask within £100,000, but can he tell us roughly how much? All that is asked is where this £1,000,000 is going to be spent and how. The Under-Secretary for War tells us that it is dangerous to give any information as to the places where these earth-works are to be erected. But I see no reason why the War Office should not follow the example of the Admiralty? People often wonder why the Admiralty is so popular. It is because the Admiralty has long ago learned that to come forward with a plain statement which people could understand is the way to get Votes from this House and applause from the country. This War Office policy of erecting defence works was begun at a time when it was thought that steam would revolutionise the principles of strategy in naval warfare. But steam has not done so, and the principles of strategy in naval warfare remain the same as before. Attacks by hostile fleets or expeditionary forces are just as impossible now as they were before the days of steam, if our fleet is sufficient to match the enemy's fleet, and to render it powerless and destroy its mobility. The fact is that the Government was weak enough to give in to the clamour of Members representing commercial ports to put up fortifications and defence works in those ports. [Cries of "Divide"] I would remind hon. Gentlemen who cry "divide," and are willing to vote a million blindfolded, that, owing to economic conditions, this country will soon be put into a tight corner to get any men for its Army at all, and therefore it is very necessary to inquire very carefully into every proposal which will divert money from improving the position of the soldier and making the service attractive. To return to the question of the defence of commercial ports. 589 As I understand, the essence of the value of a commercial port is that ships should be able to go in and out of it freely, and if the port is only protected by land defence, and a hostile vessel takes up its position in the offing outside the range of the guns, it would prevent that. There is another point worthy of consideration. If the moral effect exercised by our sea supremacy is sufficient to deter a vessel from taking up a position in the offing, no vessel could attack the port. Therefore, however we look at it, we come to this—that we must rely upon the moral effect of our naval power mainly for the protection of our ports and harbours. With respect to Wei-hai-wei, it seems to me that the acquisition of that place, for political reasons, was thoroughly good; but to embark upon permanent expenditure upon it is, in my opinion, a thoroughly bad policy. I urge the Under Secretary to examine very closely the arguments of his advisers, because, in my opinion, the naval view put forward by the War Office is unsound. In the past it was not to be wondered at, because the Navy had been allowed to go down, but there is now no excuse for the present policy.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I do not think this House ought to vote a million of money without having some sort of idea of the extent to which the defence works on which it will be spent will involve garrisons. With regard to Wei-hai-wei, as objection has not been taken to the statement which was made, we must assume that some of the money will be spent upon that place. Since Wei-hai-wei has been occupied—as many think for Parliamentary and political reasons, rather than for reasons of defence—the whole situation there has been changed. In the face of the consolidation of Russian power in that neighbourhood on land, it is evident that no effective naval strength can be exercised in the Gulf of Pe-chi-li which shall have much influence on the power of Russia at Peking. Therefore we have to consider the occupation of Wei-hai-wei, not as an answer to the occupation of Port Arthur, but from the standpoint of a secondary naval base. We do not know, however, whether the War Office are accepting that position, or whether they are extending it. Of course, the policy of our drilling the Chinese police there has gone by the board.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)
I desire to say a few words in reply to my right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean. I understood him to say that Wei-hai-wei is of no value.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I did not say "of no value." I expressly excepted the secondary naval base position.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
Wei-hai-wei, at any rate as a secondary naval base, is unquestionably of great value, and in this respect I am in opposition to my hon. and gallant friend below me (Sir John Colomb). It affords a singularly good anchorage for vessels of the largest size, and comparatively few guns will, from the anchor-ago, command the whole of the mainland opposite. I do not believe that it requires expensive fortification.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL
The Chinese Fleet, from the anchorage, drove the Japanese Army away from the plain behind the hills.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I do not want to participate in the controversy as to the strategic value of Wei-hai-wei, but I think it is undoubtedly the fact that the mainland commands the island. During the whole course of the discussion on the question of Wei-hai-wei this session, we have never been able to get from the Government anything like a clear and complete account of what they intend to do. I think we are entitled to some information as to the purposes for which this million of money is to be spent, the places in which it is to be spent, and the amount which is to be spent in each place. On a previous occasion I asked the Under Secretary for War what were the valid reasons why the Government declined to give us some explanation. In one of the previous discussions on the Bill, the hon. Gentleman appealed to the precedent of the Military Works Act of 1897, and stated that we were following that precedent. But the hon. Gentleman is mistaken when he says that that precedent was not challenged; because, upon the Second Reading, this very question was raised by an Amendment by my hon. friend the Member for West Islington (Mr. Lough), who submitted that we should not consent to the Second Reading 591 until further information was given. We resisted it to the best of our ability, and we resist it now. But let us go a step further, and see what other arguments are brought forward by the hon. Gentleman. We have had the old, stale argument about the necessity for concealing information from foreign powers. That argument, however, is of no value whatever. Foreign Governments are free to inspect our dockyards in every detail. Their representatives go to Woolwich and see all the work that is going on there; and is it, therefore, to be imagined for a moment that, with the enterprise of the Press throughout the world, they do not know where we are setting up large earthworks, both in foreign and home stations? It is surely desirable that the country, when it is voting this money, should know the purposes for which it is to be spent. Are the War Office authorities afraid of the public and of the House of Commons? If not, why do they deny to us the details with regard to the proposed expenditure of this million of money? As representatives of the people, we are here to exercise control over the money voted, and to examine the purposes for which it is spent. I say, therefore, it is contrary to all constitutional principles that a sum should be voted for a Department, however ably that Department is managed, without any knowledge whatever of the purposes for which it is to be spent. I have no doubt that the War Office is as capable, and certainly as honest, as any other department of the State; but I would not trust angels or archangels to spend millions of money of their own free will. It is contrary to the constitutional principles upon which this House is founded, contrary to constitutional duty, and contrary to all principles of financial control.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
As far as the finance of this Bill is concerned, the Treasury has absolute control over every halfpenny As to the allocation of the money, the Government rely, not upon the Treasury, but upon their expert advisers. The hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth has drawn a very marked distinction between the popularity of the Navy and the popularity of the Army, and declared that a great deal of the popularity of the Navy is due to the fact that the Admiralty give the House much fuller details than the War Office in respect of defence works. But if blame is to be imputed for re- 592 ticence—and I do not think it will be—let it be put on the right shoulders. Who dictates the policy of the Government in regard to defence works? It is dictated almost wholly by the naval experts, and it is they who counsel reticence. Then it has been said that for precedent the Government must go back to the Defence Act of Lord Palmerston. Lord Palmerston has always been held up as a shocking example of following a policy of bricks and mortar to create a moral effect. With such a policy, the more detail given the greater the effect; but that is not the purpose of the Government. We wish to carry out in a businesslike manner the recommendations of those to whom we must look for advice. These defence works are earthworks on which guns are to be mounted; and, without a murmur, the Committee passed Vote IX. for stores, although I explained most explicitly that a sum was taken for guns under the Defence Act. If hon. Members do not want to know what guns are to be provided, they ought to allow reticence to be observed about the places at which they are to be mounted.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Hon. Members are asking for the most secret document in existence at this moment. We are told, more especially by sailors, that they do not wish foreign fleets to know exactly how many guns, and of what size, are to be mounted at different places. It is also said that we give no particulars as to garrisons in different parts of the world. We have no objection to give the garrisons, but there is the greatest objection to give such financial indication as will enable anyone who chooses to do so to calculate the number and sizes of the guns. I am sorry to find that I cannot respond to the appeal of the hon. and gallant Member for Great Yarmouth, to indicate how this one million is to be divided among the various kinds of ports, the classification of which has been indicated. I must ask the Committee to support me in maintaining this attitude of reticence. It is a very grave matter when the Minister in charge of the policy of the Government is challenged again and again to give information which he is informed cannot be given without detriment to the public interest. Within the narrow limits I was 593 allowed on the Second Reading of the Bill, I stated that the greater portion of the three millions would go to make secure our principal naval bases, our secondary naval bases, coaling stations, and commercial ports, and that only a comparatively small portion would be left for the defence of commercial ports. These services are approved by all our naval advisers. I have stretched my tether to the utmost in making this announcement. The hon. and gallant Member has also criticised the classification of the ports, and said that every one of the reasons adduced in support of them are naval reasons. They are the reasons given by the naval advisers of the Government, and the classification is the classification of the naval advisers. It is a naval view submitted to the War Office.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
Is it not the naval view of what the War Office should do, provided the War Office pay for it, not the Navy
§ MR. WYNDHAM
There is no such restriction. The two Departments are working in perfect harmony; in this question of defence works the War Office
§ is acting on naval advice. I have never been reticent as to the subject of garrisons. I have told the House that we aim at having nineteen white and twelve coloured batallions abroad to garrison the stations that are held in order to fulfil the conditions of the Imperial scheme of defence. Therefore, no one need be alarmed by the idea that in passing this Vote I am pledging the Committee and the country to increase the garrisons or the number of garrisons, because the whole scheme is one scheme by which the Department is prepared to stand or fall, believing that if the interests of the Empire are to be adequately safeguarded we must accept the advice of our naval and military experts on matters of such vital importance. When we have the work done it does not matter. What we object to is to give five years' notice of our intentions. When the work is completed we shall not be afraid of its being investigated even by those who may, in an unfortunate hour, become our opponents. But until then we insist upon keeping our intentions to ourselves.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 143; Noes, 48. (Division List, No. 313.)595
|Arnold, Alfred||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Rbt. Wm.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hatch, Ernest Fred. Geo.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Curzon, Viscount||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Denny, Colonel||Howard, Joseph|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Doughty, George||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Johnstone, William (Belfast)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bethell, Commander||Fergusson, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn|
|Bigwood, James||Finch, George H.||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Bond, Edward||Fisher, William Hayes||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Brassey, Albert||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Fry, Lewis||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbysh.)||Garfit, William||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gedge, Sydney||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H.(C. of Lond.)||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.||Gilliat, John Saunders||M'Killop, James|
|Chamberlain, J. Anstin (Worc'r||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon, Henry||Gordon. Hon. John Edward||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Milton, Viscount|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J.(St. Geo.'s||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Monk, Charles James|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Round, James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G.(Bute)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whiteley, H. (Ash'n-under-L.|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Rutherford, John||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Ryder, John H. Dudley||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Seely, Charles Hilton||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. S.-|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wrightson, Thomas|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||Wyndham, George|
|Priestley, Sir W Overend-(Edin.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stanley, E. J.(Somerset)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Purvis, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Thornton, Percy M.||Sir William Walrond and|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tollemache, Henry James||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Allen, W. (Newc-under-Lyme)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Morgan, W. Pritchard (Merthyr|
|Asher, Alexander||Hazell, Walter||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. B. (Clackm.)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Billson, Alfred||Horniman, Frederick John||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Caldwell, James||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cawley, Frederick||Joicey, Sir James||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Lambert, George||Strachey, Edward|
|Crombie, John William||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Davitt, Michael||Lloyd-George, David||Tennaut, Harold John|
|Dillon, John||Macaleese, Daniel||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Crae, George||Williams, John Carvell (Notts)|
|Duckworth, James||M'Ewan, William||Wilson, Henry J. (York. W. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||M'Leod, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Maddison, Fred.||Captain Sinclair and Mr. Buchanan.|
|Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
I shall not trouble the Committee for more than a few moments, but this is the only opportunity we shall have of urging upon the Government the desirability of improving barracks in the interests of the respectability and the encouragement of morality among the men. We have been told that military experts are not unanimous upon the point of subdividing barrack-rooms, but surely it is rather too much to insist upon absolute unanimity among military experts before you can resolve upon any reform. You cannot expect absolute unanimity among any class of men, but where there is a predominence of sentiment in any one direction it is generally recognised that the minority should give way to the majority. There is a considerable consensus of opinion that it is very desirable that a rather better class of recruits should be attracted to the Army. Nothing would more conduce to that end than that the conditions of residence in barracks should be such as not to shock the feelings of the better class. In my Amendment I do not insist upon having 596 cubicles introduced in barrack rooms as a universal principle, but that the plan should be adopted in certain barracks. The other point is that of temperance rooms. I marvel at the manner in which the War Office is setting its face against the provision of separate rooms for abstainers. Without being in the least an advocate of compulsory abstinence, I do think it is a good thing that young men in the Army should be encouraged to abstain from strong drink. It has been objected that this system would load to "cliquism," but those who control the Army in India, where such provision is made, do not see any such danger. Lord Roberts put himself at the head of the movement, and his successor, Sir George White, not only carried it on, but has advocated it in the strongest terms, while Major General Trotter considers it a most valuable and necessary reform. I urge that in these new barracks this principle should be tried.
In page 2, line 10, after the word 'barracks,' to insert the words 'including
recreation rooms for abstainers, and subdivision of sleeping rooms in certain barracks, and.'"—(Sir J. Fergusson.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
I think these words are somewhat broad, and might be held to imply an obligation to introduce separate rooms in any barracks proposed under the Bill; therefore I hope the Amendment will not be pressed to a Division. My right hon. friend will readily see that the experiment can only be tried at barracks where there are dining-halls. It is the intention of the Secretary of State for War to try the experiment of cubicles in the barracks at Woking and Dublin, and as the experiment of dining-halls there has led to the adoption of the principle in all new barracks, so it may be, and I hope will be, that the experiment there of cubicles will lead to their general adoption at no distant date. I am not in a position to accept the Amendment, because it would tie us down rigidly, but I would ask my right hon. friend to accept my promise that the experiment is to be tried. As to the proposal of a separate club for abstainers, my right hon. friend has himself shown how many officers have advocated this reform, and although there is not now a consensus of opinion, I would put it to him that he might be content to leave the matter in their hands, considering that they have every facility for urging their views upon those with whom the adoption of the policy rests.
§ MR. PIRIE
My only regret with regard to this Amendment is that it is scarcely strong enough. I should like to have seen an Amendment moved in favour of these Army temperance rooms being provided in all large barracks. There should also be a clear distinction drawn between the two subjects of temperance rooms and cubicles, because of the difference in the relative expenditure involved. A very moderate expenditure would be necessary to provide separate temperance rooms, but the expenditure on cubicles is a very different matter. The statement that the provision of such rooms would lead to "cliquism" in the Army is refuted by the testimony of commanding officer after commanding officer. Perhaps a remark of the Secre- 598 tary of State for War may explain in some degree the position of the War Office upon the matter. Speaking of these proposed new barracks, he said:It is quite true that up to the present time military authorities have not seen their way to give the members of the Army Temperance Association that separate room which they so much desire. Sir George White knows that although there may be unanimity in this room upon that point, that unanimity does not exist everywhere.Reading between the lines it is very clear that Lord Lansdowne was referring to a want of unanimity in this matter in the War Office. There is a general feeling among the Service Members in favour of the Amendment. I say it is the duty of the House to insist upon this reform being carried out.
§ MR. HEDDERWICK
, in supporting the Amendment, expressed his regret that the Under Secretary for War could not see his way to accept it. Temperance should be encouraged in every way in the Army. He believed, however, it was notorious that much of the good work that was done in India in promoting sobriety in the Army was entirely lost when the regiments were removed to stations where, through want of a room for the abstainers, their association was necessarily broken up.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
My wish is, not to gain a victory in Debate, but to accomplish a great Army reform. Separate rooms for abstainers have been provided in the Army in India, and punishments, both summary and at court martial, have greatly decreased, while the health of the Army has immensely increased. I think it is most unfortunate, therefore, that owing to the prejudice at the War Office—possibly against Lord Roberts, who was the pioneer of the movement—the Government feel themselves obliged to oppose a movement which has been so conspicuously successful, and has so much to recommend it. I will, however, withdraw the Amendment, for to have it negatived would retard the temperance movement in the Army for a long time. In seeking to promote the success of this movement I prefer to rely upon public opinion, which has so often been too strong for Governments; but I regret that my hon. friend should be instructed to oppose the motion, because I believe that he is personally in favour of it. I 599 believe, moreover, that if the opinion of the country could be sufficiently aroused no Government would be strong enough to resist the proposal.
§ * MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
I have listened with some interest to the right hon. Baronet, and I am bound to say that I have as much at heart the good of the Army, in which I served for many years, as he has. But if the temperance party desire to impart their convictions to the other soldiers, surely the proper way is not for them to shut themselves up in a room by themselves, but to sit side by side with their comrades and endeavour to instil some of their temperance opinions into their minds. But is it not a farce to think that you are bound to have one room for people who drink tea and another for those who drink beer?
§ * MAJOR JAMESON
The hon. Gentleman who makes that remark may sit in the tea-room, but I will sit in the other. If there is good in the temperance party, let them mix with so-called intemperate people like myself, who are not total abstainers. I deny, however, that the British Army is intemperate, and I deny that you want any special legislation for the drunkards in the Army. The commanding officer of every regiment is perfectly able to deal with drunkenness, and we do not want Gentlemen on either side of the House to say how they shall be dealt with. It would be casting a stigma on the British Army to separate those who are called temperance people from those who are supposed by the temperance party to be intemperate. As far as I am concerned, I have seen no intemperance in the British Army worth mentioning—far less, indeed, than you see in London and all the great cities. If the Government are going in for local option in the Army I wish them joy of their policy, but I would appeal to them not to go in for fads. It would appear that the temperance party want to shut themselves up in one room while I and others are to wallow in our sins in another.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I rise to express my regret that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken, who is one of the directors of a great distillery company, should have thought it his duty to lecture those who 600 are anxious to promote temperance in the Army.
§ * COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)
I cannot support the Amendment of my right hon. friend. It will not do to tie the hands of the War Office. Let them give a temperance room where they can, but do not bind them to do so. With regard to the cubicle system proposed, I regard it as generally impracticable.
§ MR. MADDISON
I rise to support this Amendment. It is not, I submit, an attempt to impose a fad on the British Army, unless it is a fad to protect youngsters of seventeen or eighteen years of age from temptation. Everybody who has worked in the promotion of social and temperance reform knows the great difficulties which meet a young man in starting life. Everything depends upon the people he gets amongst to begin with, and, as the right hon. Baronet said, if a room could be set apart for the teetotalers and the opportunity given to them of gathering amongst themselves, good habits would be engendered at the very start and many a young fellow would be saved from evil-doing. The hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill asked the right hon. Baronet to be content with the influence of the officers whose names have been mentioned, but it is quite obvious that the influence of these officers is not paramount, or the scheme which they thoroughly support would have been put into operation. It has been clearly proved, as hon. Members know very well, that in India the very system which the right hon. Baronet wants to introduce into the new barracks has been in operation for a number of years, and has proved absolutely successful. The War Office apparently agree with a great authority on the Navy in this House, who told us some time ago that if he was in a tight corner he would prefer to have scallywags with him. But does history justify that statement? Havelock's men were not scallywags, and the men who won the battles of the Commonwealth were not scallywags, and one could quote a great many similar cases. The hon. and gallant Member (Major Jameson) has declared that he never saw much drunkenness in the Army, but the facts and figures point in another direction. We know too well that the Army frequently turns out moral wrecks. For 601 my part I shall vote, as I rarely do, with the right hon. Baronet, and with very great pleasure.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I only desire to say one sentence in support of this Amendment. I have always opposed large expenditure on military and naval works, but when it comes to a question of improving the sanitary conditions of the barracks or of encouraging men who are inclined, under great difficulties, to practise temperance, I must confess that my strong sympathies are in favour of such expenditure, and I shall therefore support the Amendment of the right hon. Baronet.
§ MAJOR GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
I regret that the right hon. Baronet cannot withdraw his Amendment, because after the statements which have been made by the Under Secretary for War there is no doubt that it is unnecessary. I believe everyone in this House is in favour of temperance, but I have no sympathy with those men who are teetotalers simply, as they think, because they get no temptation. Let us have a little backbone, so that the people may see that they can resist temptation. I am certain that there are many Members who, whilst in favour of temperance, would be unwilling to support an Amendment of this description.
§ MR. DOUGHTY (Great Grimsby)
I think the right hon. Baronet has made out a strong case for his proposal, and I fail to see why the Government should object to the Amendment. Now that we are going to spend such large sums in building new barracks we should take the opportunity to provide recreation rooms for the large and increasing number of abstainers in the Army.
§ * MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottingham, Mansfield)
I wish to give my voice in support of the Amendment, and to point out the absolute groundlessness of the contention of the hon. Gentleman below me (Major Jameson) that this Amendment involves the principle of local option. On the contrary, there is nothing whatever prohibitive in it; it is only an enabling provision. Having regard to the evils connected with the military system and the strong temptations to which young soldiers are exposed, it is our bounden duty, as far as we possibly can, to employ remedial agencies. I should, therefore, be delighted if this Bill, containing many things to which I object, had at least one provision which could be supported by the friends of temperance and morality.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 44; Noes, 103. (Division List, No. 314.)603
|Allen, W. (Newc. under Ly me)||Hedderwick, Thomas Charles H||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Asher, Alexander||Horniman, Frederick John||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. J. B. (Clackm.||Joicey, Sir James||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Brassey, Albert||Lambert, George||Strachey, Edward|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Tennant, Harold John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||M'Crae, George||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||M'Kenna, Reginald||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Killop, James||Williams, John Carvell (Notts).|
|Doughty, George||Maddison, Fred||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Duckworth, James||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Gedge, Sydney||Morgan, W. Pritchard (Merthyr||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Nussey, Thomas Willans||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Sir James Fergusson and|
|Hazell, Walter||Pirie, Duncan V.||William Johnston.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bethell, Commander||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Charrington, Spencer|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Collings, Rn. Hon, Jesse|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunkett||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Jesspel, Captain Herbert M.||Rutherford, John|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Curzon, Viscount||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Denny, Colonel||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long. Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Edw. J. (Somerset)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Madona, John Cumming||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Finch, George H.||Maclure, Sir John William||Talbot, Lord E (Chichester)|
|Finlay, sir Robert Bannatyne||Manners, Lord E. W. J.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milward, Colonel Victor||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Morrell, (George Herbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Fry, Lewis||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm|
|Garfit, William||Nicholson, William Graham||Wortley. Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lnd.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wylie, Alexander|
|Goldswothy, Major-General||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Wyndham, George|
|Goschen, Rt. Hon G. J. (St. Geo.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Purvis, Robert||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Sir William Walrond and|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Mr. Anstruther|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I desire to call attention to the item of £1,600,000 with regard to Salisbury Plain. It is a question of giving the War Office a vast sum of money to deal with without any control whatever. No detailed estimates are laid before the House; we have no particulars as to how many barracks are to be built, or for how many troops, or anything else. We certainly ought to have some details. Two years ago we were told there was no intention of erecting a great number of permanent barracks on Salisbury Plain, as had been done at Aldershot. Now there has been some alteration on the part of the War Office, and the type of Aldershot is to be followed.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I would remind the hon. Member that the promise to which he refers was made on the 27th March, 1897; that is before this House had sanctioned the increase of the Army which gave rise to this barracks scheme. When that addition to the Army was made we had to consider where we should build barracks to accommodate the force. It was considered to be very much more economical to build on a site we already had, and that is the course to be pursued. The hon. Member has asked what troops we are building for. We are providing for six or seven battalions of infantry, and for six battalions of cavalry.
§ MR. WARNER
I am sorry to hear that we have not really got an increase 604 of the Army, but an increase of the units, and that these barracks are apparently for the extra units of the paper Army. I rise to move to insert after the word "artillery" the word "cavalry." My reason for doing so is the great loss there is in horseflesh at these camps and manœuvres in consequence of the want of housing accommodation for the horses. Seven Life Guards lost sixteen horses in the manœuvres last year. The men have tents over them, but the horses are turned out in the open, and that causes, if not the actual loss of the horses, a very great depreciation in their value. As Salisbury Plain is used more for cavalry manœuvres than anything else, this is a very important point, and I move accordingly.
In line 1, after the word 'infantry,' to insert the word 'cavalry.'"—(Mr. Warner.)
§ Question, "That the word 'cavalry' be there inserted," put and negatived.
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
I want to know what is the principle upon which the Imperial Government are finding money to build barracks at Halifax. Halifax is a naval base. Esquimalt is a naval base. In regard to the latter, the Canadian Government not only have provided money for the defence of the place, but they actually pay for the garrison. If that principle is good on the Pacific seaboard, why is it not good on the Atlantic seaboard? Has there been any correspondence between the Colonial Office and the 605 Canadian Government asking the latter to apply to Halifax the principle which they accept with regard to Esquimalt?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
We have been in communication with the Canadian Government upon a number of subjects, and the allocation of burdens between the mother country and the colony must be part of general negotiations. The very fact that Canada has come forward and agreed to do so much at Esquimalt would naturally militate against her being urged to take up the other matter.
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The object of my Amendment is to make the schedule more precise. The words are very ambiguous. It was found last year that the words "ranges and manœuvring grounds" were taken to justify the War Office in purchasing the whole of the properties on Salisbury Plain, so that an important purchase amounting to £350,000 did not appear in the public accounts, and it was only by accident, so to speak, that we discovered that this large purchase had been made under the Military Works Act, 1897. It would be very much better that this statement of the purpose for which the money is wanted should be made definite and distinct.
In page 2, column 1, line 16, to leave out from 'including' to 'mobilisation' in line 17, both inclusive"—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ Question proposed—"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the schedule."
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The reason for the introduction of the words is that otherwise they would not apply to the sums in columns 3 and 4. I could, however, meet the hon. Member's point by putting an asterisk against those columns and a note at the bottom of the page. I will undertake to do that.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The hon. Member will recollect that on the Second Reading I pointed out that it was a matter of negotiation, and therefore it is quite impossible for me to indicate where the ranges will be.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn,
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I desire to move the Amendment standing in my name, and which I understand the Government will accept.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I am quite prepared to accept the Amendment, although I think it is already provided for.
In page 2, line 21, at end, to add, 'No building will be undertaken which cannot be completed within the £4,000,000 asked for under this Act.'"—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ * SIR J. COLOMB
I wish personally to thank my hon. friend for his courtesy and the manner in which he has answered every question. There is one point I should like to put, and that is whether the total sum of £4,000,000 is gross or net; that is, whether credit has been taken for barracks that are to be no longer used, and therefore sold, because there ought to be considerable receipts from that source.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
It will be seen that these sums apply to new works, and therefore the question of what will be made out of our old property does not arise in the schedule. There is a prospect of getting a certain sum back, but unfortunately in most cases we have only leasehold, and not freehold property.
§ Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. (Bill 296.)