§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
Any resolution such as I rise to move must necessarily involve a great number of geographical references and a complicated array of figures. It will be my duty to give these in minute detail should the Committee pass this resolution and authorise the introduction of the Bill. But at this stage I think it will be more to the convenience of hon. Members, who have not yet the schedule of the Bill, if I seek rather to explain the general nature of the proposal and state the principle upon which it is based. I think I can best indicate the nature of the proposal by saying that the Bill, if accepted, will be, to all intents and purposes, a continuation of the Military Loans Act of the year 1897. That is to say, it will provide comparatively large sums both for defence works and for barracks, and a smaller sum for rifle ranges. Having said that, I should like at the outset to guard against a possible misconception. I desire to remove the suspicion, if it lurks in the mind of any hon. Member, that this is but another attempt to muddle on, in a hand-to-mouth manner, "without fear and without a plan." There have been a good many military loans since the Crimca. There have been Lord Palmerston's Defence Loan of 1860, the Military Forces Localisation Act of 1872, the Imperial Defences Act of 1888, the Barracks Loan Act of 1890, and the Military Works Loan of 1897. I have enumerated these loans so that I may express the hope that they will absolve me from the necessity of rearguing once more the question of loan versus Estimates in respect of defence 164 works and barracks. I think the question as to the proper method to be adopted may now be held to have been decided. My right hon. friend the present Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when he introduced the Act of 1897, pointed out that the practice of proceeding by loan has obtained for 50 years, and if any hon. Member wishes to see the arguments by which a seal was set upon that practice he will find them in the Report of Lord Randolph Churchill's Select Committee on the Army, 1888–89. It is not too much to say that the general plan of all subsequent military loan legislation may be traced to the facts elicited by Lord Randolph Churchill's examination of Sir Lothian Nicholson, who at that time was Inspector-General of Fortifications. That Committee led up to the Barracks Act of 1890, and two important improvements were introduced into the Military Works Loan Act of 1897. In the first place, armaments or guns—which had been included in the Imperial Defences Act—were excluded in the Act of 1897; and, in the second place, a provision was included for the repayment of the loan by annual instalments within a certain period of years. We shall follow both these precedents in the Bill which we intend to introduce. Lord Lansdowne and his military advisers in framing these proposals have been guided by two considerations. They have been unwilling to ask for more money than the experience of the past shows can be spent within a reasonable time. In the second place—I am speaking now only from the War Office point of view—they are unwilling to ask for so large a sum without giving some guarantee that the services to be defrayed by those moneys form an integral part of a scheme which has been carefully considered in all its bearings. The best way to give such a guarantee is to work out your complete scheme in the first instance, and then to select from it those services which appear to be most urgent. I think that is a sound plan. In the recently published "Life and Letters of Sir Robert Peel," it is recorded to his credit that every measure he introduced, however much curtailed by the exigencies of the moment, was based upon general and scientific principles. The War Office have endeavoured in this measure to follow that example. I will now proceed to the defence services 165 which are contemplated in this Bill. Let me say that they do not embody any new departure of policy. Much has been said in recent months about the extent of our Imperial obligations, and the wisdom or unwisdom of extending them. But what we are asking for now will commit us to no more than is immediately urgent and permanently useful, if we are to achieve ends upon which I really believe all sections of opinion in this House have been for some years in agreement. We all agree that in respect of defence we must consider the Empire as a whole. We all agree, I think, that the burden of defending our territories and of protecting our commerce from destruction must, in any future which we can now foresee, rest to a very large extent upon the mother country; and we all, I think, agree that the system of Imperial defence to be pursued must be based upon the maintenance of our sea supremacy, although carried out by the co-operation of the two Services. This theory was so ably and succinctly stated in a passage quoted from a memorandum by the Duke of Devonshire in a speech which he delivered on 3rd December 1896, that it may be convenient if I read that passage once more to the Committee, though I am sure it is in the minds of many of the experts whom I see assembled here today. It reads as follows:The maintenance of sea supremacy has been assumed as the basis of the system of Imperial defence against attack from over the sea. This is the determining factor in shaping the whole defensive policy of the Empire, and is fully recognised by the Admiralty, who have accepted the responsibility of protecting all British territory abroad against organised invasion from the sea. To fulfil this great charge they claim the absolute power of disposing of their forces in the manner they consider most certain to secure success, and object to limit the action of any part of them to the immediate neighbourhood of places which they consider may be more effectively protected by operations at a distance.That statement attracted a good deal of attention at the time, and the word "abroad," in the phrase "protecting all British territory abroad," provoked some controversy. But the inclusion of the word is easily explained. It was included because the memorandum in question and the speech of the Duke of Devonshire were both specifically directed to Australasian defences. The general principle enunciated applies also to the 166 defence of these islands. The Navy does undertake, for the whole Empire, to give, not indeed absolute security at any price, however extravagant, against all risks, however remote, but reasonable security against probable combinations. To do this the Navy claims an absolute discretion in the disposal of its forces. Granting this, the Navy must, in the first place, have dockyards and principal bases which must be, in a sense, fortresses, that is to say, stations with garrisons and guns sufficient to protect them independently of the Navy. Otherwise the Navy cannot have the liberty which it claims. A fleet which is to engage in distant strategic operations requires a base just as much as does an army. And, just as an army requires lines of communication, so does a fleet require secondary bases and coaling stations. The Army Estimates or the Army loans provide the guns, the defences, and garrisons for all these stations the character of which I have indicated. Again it follows from the passage which I have quoted that our commerce needs strategic harbours of refuge at which, like a boy playing rounders, it may count on security before making a finial dash for home. Its home—the commercial port, that is to say, for which it is bound—must also have some measure of protection, sufficient to resist, not an armoured squadron, but the attack of one or two cruisers which may have escaped the vigilance of the Fleet, or which the Fleet, being engaged in operations of far greater gravity, may have deliberately left out of account. It would be difficult to exaggerate the gravity of the issues involved. Along many trade routes, from Canada, from the United States, from South America, from the Cape, from the Canal, from the Mediterranean ports and from Spain, the great bulk of the sea-borne commerce of the Empire—some £500,000,000 out of, say, £750,000,000 in 1897—converges into a band spreading from Cape Clear to Ushant. The Emperor Caligula is said to have expressed a wish that the Roman people had but one neck, so that he might sever it at a blow. The commerce of the Empire has practically but one neck. But, happily, the blow by which it might be threatened can, under the system of Imperial defence, be parried at distances of hundreds or even thousands of miles. To grant the mobility needed for that system, the Navy requires principal bases, secondary bases, and coaling 167 stations; and to ensure that the Navy can, at all times, be able to avail itself of that mobility we need for our commerce these harbours of refuge and commercial ports. For each one of these stations we require a certain number of guns, each of them of a certain size; and these guns, in turn, require certain defence works upon which they may be mounted. It is to provide these defence works, upon which the guns are to be mounted, that Defence Loans have been passed by this House. The loan of 1897—called the Military Works Act—provided £1,120,000, of which £450,072 has already been spent. But both the portion of that money which has been expended and the portion which is still unexpended are allocated, in the main, to the provision only of minor and medium armaments. The question of heavy armaments was left over. That question involves two things—the substitution of modern breech-loaders for muzzle-loaders, and the provision of the guns which are required at stations which have hitherto been un-provided. When I introduced the Army Estimates this year I told the House that a conference had sat and drawn up a scheme dealing with the armaments necessary for this scheme of Imperial defence, and with the number and size of the guns needed at all points of the Empire. That scheme has been drawn up by Sir Henry Brackenbury, Sir Richard Harrison, and Rear-Admiral Beaumont, and although the document naturally is of a confidential character, it is of the greatest authority. But if we are from year to year upon these Estimates to make provision for these guns which are asked for in the report of that conference, it is evident that we must provide by loan the defence works upon which they are to be mounted. To do this, in the opinion of the Joint Conference—I am now speaking purely from a Departmental point of view—to carry out completely all the works needed for all the guns which this high authority holds are needed, would require the sum of £1,306,000; but as I said before, under this Bill we are only asking for such sums of money as can—in the opinion of those best able to form a correct judgment—be conveniently spent within a reasonable period of four or five years. That sum in respect of defence works in this Bill has been fixed at £1,000,000. It has not been customary to give—and there are 168 obvious objections to giving—the number and size of these guns, and an objection equally great would apply to describing the size and cost of the defence works for these gulls at particular stations, because if such information were given it would not take a very clever military man to work out the size of the guns to be mounted. But to illustrate this system of defence I have indicated the categories of these stations and the purposes for which they exist, and I have cited the high authority for the gun scheme which determines the scope and size of our defence works. I do not think that I can say more upon the subject of defence works, which has necessarily to be treated in a somewhat cautious manlier. I come now to the barracks portion of our scheme. The Committee will remember that during the last three years we have increased the establishment of the Army by 25,000 men. If I were only concerned to-day with tile barrack portion of the scheme, I should not add another word to that statement, for having got the men we must give them a roof and four walls. But there is a school of critics ably represented in this House who, whilst they smile approval upon sums, however large, for the Navy, or for military services obviously connected with the Navy, strongly disapprove of an increased expenditure, however small, upon military service not so obviously connected. It is necessary, therefore, to say that although we are asking for a considerable sum of money for barracks we have no intention of increasing the Army in. order to protect these islands from invasion by soldiers instead of by ships. May I remind the Committee that, apart from military expeditions and occupations, the Army in the normal discharge of its functions sends some 22,000 men over sea every year to feed and relieve garrisons abroad. These men must be found for the regions which we undertake to police in all quarters of the globe. It may be objected by the school of critics to which I have referred that this explanation does not cover the maintenance of three army corps for home defence in England, Ireland, and Scotland. I am quite prepared to admit that this home Army organised into three army corps constitutes an apparent exception from our system of Imperial defence, but the exception is only apparent, analagous in kind, though 169 not in degree, to the other apparent exception of light defences for commercial ports. The home Army and the light defences of commercial ports are neither of them designed to meet the total strength which could be brought to their attack, supposing by some great calamity we lost the supremacy of the sea. But if we grant to a commercial port or to the United Kingdom a defence slight by comparison with that total strength, you can achieve three very desirable objects. In the first place you discourage any attempt to raid. If a commercial port has a few guns, a hostile cruiser will think twice before attacking it; so also if the United Kingdom has three army corps, a hostile Power will think twice before attempting a coup de main with 100,000 or 150,000 men. In the second place, you confirm to the Fleet the mobility which it demands; and in the third place, you do carefully and cheaply in time of peace that which you would most certainly be driven into doing hurriedly and extravagantly in time of war. You must in any case have at home a force sufficient to provide reliefs for the posts which must in any case be occupied abroad. It is, therefore, prudent and economic so to organise these reliefs as to give the mobility which the Navy demands, and to put yourself in a position to follow up a naval victory by a counter-attack with two army corps. Having added 25,000 to the establishment of the Army, there is, I submit, an overwhelming case for providing barracks abroad at the posts which must be occupied, and for providing barracks at home, distributed in so far as may be possible with a view to organising the feeders of these foreign stations into bodies efficiently trained for the double purpose of discouraging or withstanding a coup de coup de main, and of following up a naval victory. We come, then, to Parliament for a new loan in respect of barracks somewhat earlier than would otherwise have been necessary, because of the additions which have been voted to the Army. But we come to Parliament also with the assurance that the fulfilment of these urgent services of mere accommodation for increases are part of a scheme carefully considered to give effect to the views which I have indicated. It will be for our successors to complete that scheme, or to leave it incomplete as they may think 170 best. The Bill to be introduced, if this Resolution be accepted, will in no way bind or commit our successors in any way, for in the Bill no service will be undertaken which cannot be completed under the total named in the schedule. But, although we leave it entirely to the judgment and discretion of our successors, we shall at least have thrown no impediment in their path if they should, as I earnestly hope they may, see fit to pursue it towards the ideals which are and must he the evident goal of any Government charged with providing barracks for the Army. What are those ideals? Assuming that you must have, so to say, a "house" for your Army, the ideals are two—first, to have a good house, and second, to have a house in the right place. These two ideals have been pursued in the past by successive Governments who have introduced Barrack Acts. But those who pursued them have found themselves confronted by the two difficulties which beset their realisation. They wanted a good house, and much for their accommodation was bad, Barracks built 70 or 100 years ago were obsolete in respect to the standard of comfort of the classes from which you seek to draw recruits, and many of them were insanitary. They were also in the wrong place—built in the heart of a town with a view to riots or pageants rather than to drawing the units of larger bodies together within reasonable access of the ground on which they might be trained. Under the Acts of 1890 and 1897 a very great deal has been done to abolish what may be called death-traps; something has been done towards raising the standard of comfort in our barracks, and a little, but not very much, has been done towards effecting concentration; so that a great deal remains to do. And now, having to provide accommodation for 25,000 men, an excellent opportunity presented itself to our military advisers for taking a forward step towards the two ideals I have mentioned, and they have not been slow to seize it. They have made a careful examination of every barrack in the three kingdoms, and have sat in judgment On them. They have condemned absolutely the few remaining barracks unfitted for human habitation—that may be too strong an expression—but certainly unfitted for the soldiers of this country. These will be abolished. In the second place, they have made a 171 list of the barracks so ancient and misplaced as to render any considerable expenditure upon them uneconomic. These will be maintained temporarily, but no more will be spent on them than may be necessary to keep out the weather, in order that they may afford temporary shelter for our troops until better accommodation can be provided; and, in the third place, they have made a list of old barracks to be added to and of new barracks to be built, which, when completed, will give our home Army decent accommodation, distributed with a due regard to the exigencies of organisation. In fact, they have worked out a complete scheme, but a scheme which would require £5,254,000—more, that is to say, judging from the experience of the past, than could be spent conveniently and economically within a period of four or five years. Under the Bill to be introduced we ask for £2,770,000 in, respect of barracks. Of that sum £675,000 will be expended at stations for which moneys were taken under the Act of 1897, and where a great deal has already been done, and £2,095,000 at other stations. I will indicate now, without going into detail, the classification of stations to which these moneys are allocated. The nature of the additions to the Army very largely determined the choice of stations at which we intend to build. The Committee will remember that these additions are as follows: 900 to cavalry, 16 batteries of field artillery, 11 companies garrison artillery, 2 battalions of Guards, 7 battalions of line, and eighty men added to each home battalion; 1 depô and 8 companies of the Army Service Corps, 1 battalion West India Regiment, 1 battalion West African, 1 battalion Central African, and 1 Chinese battalion. The bulk, by far the larger part, of the stun we ask for now will go to providing accommodation for these additions. £1,600,000 will be spent on barracks on Salisbury Plain, and I believe by doing that we shall be giving the taxpayer value for his money which has already been spent on that most desirable acquisition. On Salisbury Plain we have a free hand, and we can comparatively cheaply do much to raise the standard of comfort of our soldiers and also to effect scientific concentration. It will be impossible for me without charts and elevations to explain to the Committee the exact type of the 172 barracks that will be built, but as the subject has excited a good deal of interest I may say that we contemplate giving these new barracks dining-halls. Anyone who has gone round a barrack after a long route march or a field day, and has experienced the mingled odour of pipeclay, wet clothes, and Irish stew, will realise that this will be a very considerable improvement. No one likes to sit down to the principal meal of the day in close proximity to dirty boots and wet clothes. There will in all probability be a dining-hall for every two companies. The blocks will be for four companies, and between them they will have two dining-halls, a cook-house, and a drying-room. The question of cubicles has also excited a good deal of interest, but as at present advised the Secretary of State is not prepared to introduce that reform; but it is being considered, and nothing will be done in building to render it difficult or impossible of adoption in after years. The barracks at Salisbury Plain will be built for seven battalions of infantry and six batteries of field artillery.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
No, Sir, no cavalry. I think the hon. Member will see that the argument for augmentation applies more immediately to infantry and artillery than to cavalry, because we have only added a few men to the cavalry, and the Bill is based upon the urgent necessity of building accommodation for the additions to the Army. The next item is £160,000 for additions to the depôts of regiments to which new battalions have been added. It is quite clear that when we add two battalions to the Guards, and one battalion each to the Lancashire Fusiliers, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and the Royal Fusiliers, we must expand the depots of the regiments in proportion to the expansion of their establishments. Then we are-taking £70,000 to build barracks for four companies of garrison artillery and another battery of field artillery. £90,000 is to be spent at different stations in order to make the additions necessary to take in the 80 men added to each of the home battalions; and £170,000 on six other important stations to carry out urgent and necessary services, such as to bring together the scattered squadrons. 173 of a cavalry regiment, as at Cork, or to rebuild barracks which are 100 years old, and which are falling down altogether, as at Windsor. We are spending; £230,000 to carry on the work which has been already very largely advanced at the camps at Aldershot, Colchester, Shorncliffe, and Curragh. So much for barracks at home. Abroad we propose to spend £50,000 on Gibraltar, mainly for a hospital; £40,000 at Halifax, where the barracks are a hundred years old; and £120,000 at Malta, for hospitals and also for the reconstruction of parts of the barracks at that station. We propose £130,000 for Wei-hai-wei, and I may perhaps, give the garrison which is to be stationed there. It will consist of one company of British garrison artillery, one company of Chinese garrison artillery, two companies of British and six companies of Chinese infantry, and the necessary contingent of Royal Engineers and departmental staffs. We are taking £90,000 to be distributed between Bermuda, Jamaica, Mauritius, and St. Helena. And if we add to these figures £20,000 for transport it will give the total of £2,770,000 that we are taking for barracks under this Bill. That brings me to the third head—rifle ranges. For that we are only taking £40,000. The Secretary of State for War is fully conscions of the great difficulties which the Volunteer corps have had to face owing to the distribution of the Lee-Metford rifle, which has led to the closing of so many ranges. In the past no Government has made itself responsible for giving ranges to the Volunteers. Indeed, there were so many other services of a more urgent nature to be met, that it would have been impossible to undertake that additional obligation. Hon. Members may say that £40,000 is such a very small sum that it would prove of very little use to provide ranges. Without pledging myself to the plan which now holds the field, I think I may point out without any indiscretion that such a sum could be made to go a very long way if it were wisely administered. Supposing we were only to take the areas within which there is no range accommodation or very small range accommodation, but within which there are a great number of corps—and there are such areas in the United Kingdom—and if we were to say that if these corps were to combine together to pay a large percentage of the cost of the range the 174 War Office would find the rest, then I think it would be quite possible to give to the areas most needing Volunteer rifle ranges a considerable addition to the number existing. There remains only the sum of £190,000 for staff and contingencies, and that applies not only to the barracks part of the loan, but also to the defence part. Including the £1,000,000 for defence works, the total sum asked for would be four millions. I thank the Committee for the attention with which they have listened to a dry statement, chiefly concerned with the principles on which the measure is based. But I assure them that if they pass this Resolution, at a later and more convenient stage I shall be ready to give very full information on the allocation of the sums, and on the nature of the services which they are intended to defray. I beg to move.
Motion made, and Question proposed:
That it is expedient, to authorise the issue out of the Consolidated Fund, in addition to the sum authorised by the Military Works Loan Act of 1897, a such further sum not exceeding on the whole £4,000,000, which may be required for defence, works, barracks, rifle ranges, and staff and contingencies."—(Mr.Wyndham.)
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I think the Committee will be generally agreed that this is not a very convenient time for entering on a discussion of the policy laid before the Committee by the hon. Gentleman in his speech, which I am sure was perfectly clear and extremely interesting. We are under this disadvantage in cases of this sort, that we are dealing with a Resolution which will bind our future proceedings on this Bill, which, nevertheless, is only in manuscript, and the terms of which are not before the House. That is a disadvantage not due to the hon. Gentleman, but to the rules of procedure of the House. In the few observations I have to make on the statement of the hon. Gentleman, I wish, first of all, to take note of what appears to me the rather too light assumption that the policy of borrowing, as a matter of course, for works of this sort, has been accepted by the House and by both Parties. I hardly think that is a correct statement of the views on this side of the House, at all events; and I venture to say that entire liberty will have to be reserved for discussion on that point. It 175 will not be forgotten on this side that this proposal is a proposal to add, for the time being, to the National Debt, and that it is made in a year in which the normal provision for meeting the Debt has been deliberately reduced by the action of the Government. For my own part, while I think that no recourse to loans should ever be had unless the work is both urgent and permanent—and I do not deny that these works may not be both urgent and permanent—I also think that no recourse should be made to loaning unless there is an absolute financial necessity. If there is an absolute financial necessity in this case, it has been brought about by the policy which the Government have pursued during the last four years. The hon. Gentleman said that the Empire is to be defended as a whole. To that general principle I say no exception can very well be taken. But there is a corollary to that which many of us must have in mind. If the Empire is to be defended as a whole, then the expense of this universal Imperial defence ought not to be borne entirely by the home country. It ought to rest, in part, on an adequate contribution by those outlying parts of the Empire whose defence we have hitherto taken upon ourselves alone. Now, the hon. Gentleman spoke of the maximum sum which he is going to ask us to authorise as something like four millions, and he justified that figure upon this ground, that it was, roughly speaking, the amount which might fairly be anticipated to be spent within a reasonable period. Well, I may be pardoned if I allude to the total failure of the official anticipations of the expenditure under the Naval Works Act. I hope that the anticipations in regard to the military works will be better realised than those in regard to the naval works. But what is a reasonable period? The hon. Gentleman alluded to precedents, but he made no allusion to the naval works in their various stages. The reasonable period which the House originally accepted as the period for the continuance of the Naval Works Bill—which is on all fours with this Bill—was not the period of two or three years, but the period of a year. The policy recommended to and accepted by the House was that the authority should be renewed by annual Bills, so that the House should not lose control over the expenditure for a longer 176 period than it does over the Estimates. I wish that that principle had been kept in view by the Government in the proposals they have made to-day; and we, on this side of the House, consider we are within our rights in reserving what criticism we may make on that point. But the most serious criticism that I want to make at this stage, to the hon. Gentleman and the Government, has regard to the schedule of the Bill. I hope this Bill is not in print, or if it is, I hope that it is in a form very different from the Military Works Loan Bill of 1897. If it is not in print, the hon. Gentleman has time to make the desired alterations from what I am going to say. It is almost necessary to have a copy of the Statutes of 1897 in hand, and I want the hon. Gentleman to compare the Military Works Loan Bill of 1897 and the Naval Works Loan Act of 1897 in regard to the schedule. The schedule of the Military Works Bill is of the most meagre possible kind. It contains a bare and bald enumeration of the particulars under the four heads which the hon. Gentleman has followed to-day—namely, 1st Defence Works, 2nd Barracks, 3rd Rifle Ranges, and 4th Staff and contingencies. But if you turn to the corresponding Naval Works Act for the same year you will find a most complete and detailed enumeration, under corresponding heads—every individual work of importance that the Government undertook to look after under that Act—Gibraltar, Portland, Dover, &c. I won't go through the detailed enumeration, but there are 20 items or more; whereas in the Military Works Act there is none. And here is a parallelism precisely in point. A large portion of the sum asked for under the Naval Works Act of 1897 dealt with naval barracks. That was one of the principal items, and all the naval items were specified in the schedule, such as Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth, and so on, with every particular work of importance. Not only that, but the total sum expected to be spent, not merely under the then exsisting Naval Works Act, but altogether under the scheme of the Government—that also was contained in separate items in the Bill. You know exactly where you are with regard to that year, you know what has been spent in the past, and what it is you intend to spend in the coming year, and yon know the period within which the Government intends to 177 bring the work to its completion. The schedule of the Nayal Works Act is as complete as you would expect to find it in the Estimates laid before Parliament when this expenditure is expected to be required. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give some consideration to the points that I have urged upon the Government, and will say that we shall have as full a schedule in this Bill as we have in the Naval Works Act. If that schedule is not contained in the original draft of the Bill, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not offer any objection to a schedule being extended and introduced at some, later period.
§ * SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
I do not think much advantage is obtained by discussing a subject like this before the House in detail. If the defence of the Empire is to be dealt with it should be dealt with as a whole, and if it is to be dealt with as a whole, we have to face, and bring about the solution of, the most difficult problem—the combination of the resources of the whole Empire to discharge the obligations which attach equally and relatively to every part. I am not going to follow up this point now, and I do not know when, if ever, an opportunity will arise under our present procedure for dealing with it. It is the gravest problem of the present time. As regards the barrack accommodation to be provided under this Bill, it is quite plain that the War Office have recognised the modern requirements of the soldier, and we must feel very great satisfaction with the way in which the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the question of these dining-rooms and making the soldiers' abode as attractive as possible. I should not have risen if it heel not been for the somewhat curious way in which the War Office launches out on the principle of naval defence. We have the War Office introducing a Military Works Bill which is largely concerned with fulfilling naval requirements. We had a Naval Works Bill brought in for Dover harbour, and largely justified upon military grounds. Year by year it is becoming more and more apparent that our defence is a complex defence, and that you cannot deal with this question in small parts, and where the functions of the War Office end and the function of the Admiralty begins is very hard to define, but the sooner it is 178 defined I think the better in the interests of economy. We have now had a very remarkable announcement, which will, no doubt, produce considerable discussion in our Empire over seas. We have had a qualification of the Duke of Devonshire's previous announcement as to the fundamental principle of the policy of the country, that as to places abroad approachable only by sea the responsibility for the protection of those places rested with the Navy. My hon. friend now says that declaration was mainly applied to Australia.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
I explained the presence of the word "abroad" which appears to qualify the declaration by saying that the speech of the Duke of Devonshire had special reference to Australia. If the statement had been delivered on general matters the word would not have appeared at all.
§ * SIR JOHN COLOMB
That leaves us quite in the air as to the general principle of the policy of the Government as to these parts of the Empire abroad approachable only by sea: if the doctrine is good, it is good all round, mid cannot be limited to Australia, but must be applied to every possession that we have which is approachable by sea.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
I do not think that the noble Duke's speech contained the words, "only approachable by sea."
§ * SIR JOHN COLOMB
Then I must have made a very serious mistake if I have misquoted it, but that is the impression which is borne in upon my mind. But the principle must be applied to all ports approachable only by sea, and the Admiralty take the responsibility to prevent organised invasion from the sea. The Secretary to the War Office tells us that some positions may be attacked by fleets, others by squadrons, and others by cruisers, and can be defended so as to meet those contingencies, but that opens up a tremendously large question. If you are going on the assumption that foreign fleets are free to move upon the water independently, you cannot regulate the action of those fleets; and a fleet on the sea will attack where and in any way she chooses. She will not be controlled by such 179 a policy as this. Once you get away from the position that your safety principally depends upon denying freedom to the enemy's fleet you are involving yourselves in complications which will lead, and have led, us into enormous expense. In another part of my hon. friend's speech we were told that this question of armaments has been thoroughly considered by a conference of experts. He has mentioned those experts, and we all know the extreme respect in which they are held in the Service. But this conference was called together to decide the question of armaments, and the number and nature of the guns to be placed at each position liable to purely naval attack. That is the basis on which the estimate of the requirements for armaments was prepared. It is a curious thing that the policy of the whole system, which comes down to us by tradition during the 40 years of peace between Waterloo and the Crimea, has been to leave it to the War Office to assume a naval hypothesis, very often without any evidence at all, and then to spend money because they think it is required. And what is this conference for? Is it to frame the naval hypothesis of defence. I should like my hon. friend, when he makes his reply, to tell me what were the instructions issued to the committee, what naval evidence was taken: because I should have thought that, as primarily the question was one of naval hypothesis, the majority of that conference should be naval and not military men. Taking the precautions we have taken, and, I trust, always will take, to provide a force necessary for maintaining our supremacy of the sea, I cannot for a moment accept this War Office definition of the sort of thing that is going to happen with regard to our commerce in war. It proceeds from a false notion. I do not desire to occupy the House at any length at the present stage, but I desire to call the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that your commerce cannot be carried in the way which is apparently supposed. There is one point which I wish to touch upon before I sit down. You are going to spend £130,000, to begin with, at Wei-hai-wei. It would be flogging a dead horse to labour this particular point now, because the House has already committed itself to the expenditure of this money. As my hon. friend said in talking about the barracks at home, you 180 must give the men a roof awl four walls. Well, Sir, we are committed, both by the Army Estimates awl the Navy Estimates, to the men for Wei-hai-wei as a naval base. At the present time, however, we are really in a difficulty in discussing the question at all, but I shall raise the whole question of the relative value of Wei-hai-wei on another occasion. There is no doubt that a great deal of the money proposed to be spent is required, and I believe that as far as the barrack accommodation in the United Kingdom is concerned the expenditure is all that is to be desired. In conclusion, I feel bound to say that, in my opinion, there are a good many heresies underlying the speech of the Under Secretary. That is not from any fault of his own, but from the notions prevailing at the War Office and the confusion into which we are getting at the point where the War Office ends and the Admiralty begins, and vice versa, in their arrangements in general.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, S.)
There are one or two observations I desire to make at this stage of our proceedings, after listening with interest to the speech of the Under Secretary. I do not propose to deal with the subject which has been raised by my hon. and gallant friend opposite, but it certainly does occur to me, as a mere outsider in these matters, that if what he alleges is the case it is a very imperfect way of maintaining our naval defence in outlying stations if the responsibility for it is in any degree divided between the War Office and the Admiralty. With regard to the question of Wei-hai-wei, we shall have more to say upon the subject at later stages of the Bill. I would only say now that Wei-hai-wei, from a financial point of view, has already grown to a very considerable extent. From the cost of a coaling shed of £6,000, the expenditure has grown to £130,000, and the liability upon the State is growing rapidly under our present system. Then there is one other point which I will just touch upon at this moment. At the time we last discussed the subject of barracks on the Army Estimates for Wei-hai-wei, there was another subject brought under discussion, and we were informed by the Financial Secretary for War that the matter would also be dealt with under this Loan Bill, and that is the question of barrack accommodation at Piershill in Edinburgh. Now, I did 181 not observe that in the Under Secretary's speech he made mention of the crying want which was acknowledged by the Financial Secretary—and I have no doubt will be acknowledged by him—of better barrack accommodation in Scotland. He told us in his interesting speech of the great necessity there was (1) for a good house; (2) that it should be in the right place; (3) that it should be sanitary; and (4) that it should not be 100 years old. Having regard to the fact that Piershill is not a good house, is not in the right place, is insanitary, and is more than 100 years old, I venture to think that the barrack accommodation in Piers-hill, as well as in other places in Scotland—for the same remarks apply to them—is a matter which requires the urgent attention of the Government. That leads me to a more general point which has been already alluded to by my hon. friend the Member for Dundee. I should like to back up the appeal he has made to the Secretary for War, that this Bill should be made more like the Naval Works Act and less like the Military Works Act of 1897. In the first place, I trust that there will be a clause distinctly enjoining that there shall every year be presented to Parliament a statement of the estimated expenditure for the ensuing year for the various purposes of the We get it regularly presented to us under the Naval Works Act from year to year, but we don't get it under the Military Works Act of 1897.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The hon. Member did promise it, but what I would like to see would be a clause in this Bill, which involves the expenditure of a very large sum of money, in similar terms to the clause in the Naval Works Act. I will give an illustration of the inconvenience which has been caused by the absence of a schedule in the Military Works Act, 1897, and of the way in which Parliament is prevented from obtaining full particulars of important military expenditure. It will be in the recollection of the hon. Member that the Military Works Bill was introduced and passed containing a schedule with only the same four heads as have been read out; but during the progress of the Bill the War 182 Office laid before the House of Commons a schedule giving in detail the barracks for which money had been spent, and every year since we have had in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report the details of the expenditure set out, and giving the amount which was spent upon these various barracks. But with regard to other heads of expenditure there are only gross totals given of the amounts spent under these different items. I am not pressing for elaborate details under the first item—defence works. I quite recognise that it is impossible in the public interest to set out in great detail the amount and nature of the armaments we are putting at particular places. But here is my illustration: The item of "Ranges, etc.," which I understand is always going to be put into this Bill. In last year's account there were only two items given, viz., artillery ranges £5,000, and the rifle ranges and manœuvring ground £354,000, of which no details, however, are given. The Public Accounts Committee had the matter before them, and, calling attention to the fact, it came out, in cross-examination of the War Office authorities, that this was not a large number of separate items, but, with the exception of about £10,000, was the purchase-money of the land at Salisbury Plain. Surely the House of Commons ought to have been informed where in the Public Accounts you are to find the money paid for that very important purchase of land, because I am perfectly certain that 99 out of 100 Members of this House would have been unable to identify the account under which it would come. That is entirely due to the way in which the Military Works Act was drawn up, and which I understand is to be perpetuated in this Barracks Loan Act. It is said that the whole of the expenditure on barracks is part of a fully considered scheme, so that there can be no difficulty in setting forth in main outlines the amount of money that is to be spent upon important stations. We are embarking upon a very serious financial liability. There is not merely the £4,000,000 which the hon. Member is asking for, which is a very considerable sum in a Loan Act, but we are told that, under one section alone of this Act which asks for £2,750,000, the total wanted to carry out the scheme elaborated by the War Office authorities: is no less than £5,750,000.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I made it quite clear that it would be for our successors to complete or not the scheme.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The hon. Gentleman may try to put the balance upon his successors, whose advent he appears to anticipate at a very early date, but the liability remains upon the country. Then again, with regard to defence works, he stated the total of armaments under the scheme was £1,300,000, but he was only asking for £1,000,000. That is a further liability which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not recognise as a legal liability.
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
The hon. Member is quite mistaken. When the schedule is presented he will see a note put to the schedule to the effect that no building will be undertaken which cannot be completed within the amount of four millions.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I quite recognise that. I do not wish to labour this point, but the hon. Gentleman stated distinctly, both with regard to armaments and to barrack accommodation, that what was proposed in this Bill was only a part of this thought-out scheme, and I say that that is entailing a liability or financial responsibility on the future of this country. I should also like the hon. Gentleman to tell us what are the other financial liabilities or responsibilities still outstanding for barracks and cognate purposes. Am I right in saying that the whole of the money under the Barracks Act, 1890, is now exhausted or will be exhausted during the present year? Would he also tell the Committee what is the further liability under the Military Works Act of 1897? I gather there is something like £3,000,000 still left. These are one or two general matters which I desired to bring before the House at this stage, and I earnestly press the War Office authorities, even at this late date, to present a schedule in at least as general detail as was given in the case I have referred to.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I must confess I am somewhat staggered by the financial character of the proposal made to-day. Already the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken away from its proper destination—the 184 liquidation of the public debt—first of all, a sum of £4,200,000, and secondly, a sum of £2,400,000; total £6,600,000, which he has devoted to military and naval works. I have nothing to do with the other £3,000,000 which he has diverted to other purposes. We are now asked for another £4,000,000 to be raised by way of loans, and it is suggested that the successors of the present Government may want something like the same sum to carry out the remainder of the scheme. The result will be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having captured on its way to its proper destination—the payment of debt—£6,600,000 of cash, having then intervened to prevent the application to the reduction of the permanent debt of £2,000,000, has now saddled the debt with a further sum of £4,000,000. That makes £12,000,000 in a very short period—all for naval and military works. As to the merit of these naval and military works, I was extremely interested and much edified by the statement of what I may call Imperial strategy, made with so much ability by the Under Secretary for War. I should rather have expected to hear the statement either from the Lord President of the Council, who is head of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, or the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty, who would have been more properly charged with, at any rate, the naval part of the scheme. But I do not quarrel with the exponent of the policy, a policy the principles at the bottom of which are of the utmost gravity and importance to the Empire. I confess at once that in that exposition I do not think there was any proper grasp of the true principle. The whole of the notion that ran through my hon. friend's speech was that Her Majesty's Government have lost confidence in the Navy to protect these islands. I will explain why. We are told that there are to be certain stations, which are not named, some of them armed to the teeth, and others only against attack by occasional cruisers. What is the function of our Navy? We have understood our Navy to have one function and one alone—to follow up and to destroy the enemy's fleet, to watch for it leaving its ports, and never to let it escape without a battle, and never to leave it until it had got rid of the last ship. If you do that you prevent any large organised naval attack upon any of your ports or stations whatever. The 185 sea is open to you, and closed to your enemies. Your commercial vessels have not got to wait in a port for defence. They can traverse the sea with perfect freedom, and, indeed, they did so at the end of the last French war, for while the sea was absolutely closed to French ships English merchantmen sailed safely and freely to the most distant parts of the world, even without convoys. The French fleet was either destroyed or bottled up in harbours. The suggestion is that, although an enemy's fleet might be rendered incapable of doing any material injury, nevertheless, some torpedo boats or cruisers might escape and make raids upon certain ports. It is, therefore, argued that to meet these raiding expeditions we must have defences at certain places. I absolutely deny that you need pay any attention to raiding expeditions of this sort. Suppose that a cruiser, well found, well provisioned, and well provided with ammunition, is about to make a raid upon some town of ours, she will have to start from a point a considerable distance away, in order to avoid our cruisers; she may have to make a great detour, and she will have to get back again. The number of towns that could possibly be exposed to an attack by such a vessel is very limited indeed. A vessel, in fact, could only attack a town within a certain distance of her own ports. But all that time where should we be? The vessel would be opposed to what is admitted to be the dominant power of the sea. Suppose she escapes our ships and gets opposite the town she is to raid, what is she going to do? If she could land 5,000 or 10,000 men to capture the town, to destroy its defence works, its docks and its warehouses, and to hold it for ransom, that might be something; but that is not the assumption on which this policy of the Government is based. The assumption is that this vessel is to act from the sea. In the present day it is but a very small proportion of a man-of-war's crew that can be landed ashore for operations, and a battleship could scarcely land 200 men. What sort of town could such a force capture? You exclude the land theory entirely: you rest exclusively and entirely upon the action a cruiser can take from the sea against a town.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Yes; but it must be from the sea. Then it must be remembered that the amount of ammunition a cruiser carries is limited. She dare not expend it all upon the town which she is supposed to be raiding and on the docks she is to destroy; she must keep some fur her own protection on her journey homewards. Therefore the damage she could do to the town is extremely small, even if she spent the whole of her ammunition. If she bombarded a crowded town, I doubt if she could kill a dozen people, and she certainly could not blow up any clocks. I therefore think that the importance attached to these raiding expeditions is altogether exaggerated. I do not care a snap of the finger, if you will give me the predominance of the sea, for all the raiding expeditions that could be sent out by any enemy. They could do no good; their area of operations and their powers of offence against any town are exceedingly restricted, and I entirely dismiss it as a sound reason for proposing such an enormous expenditure of money as is now submitted to the Committee. It Seems to me to show that the First Lord of the Admiralty and his new naval adviser, the Under-Secretary of State for War, have lost confidence in the Navy. If that is so, I can understand the proposal; they think our Navy could not destroy or adequately neutralise the work of a foreign navy. I have no such fear, however. I am certain that our Navy will be competent to deal adequately with the navy of any foreign Power. We have no doubt lost naval power, but not through any defects in our arms or ships, or naval system, but through signing scraps of paper like the Declaration of Paris, which prevent us from strangling our enemy's trade. I have not been surprised, after the experience of the past, that even more astounding proposals have been made at the Peace Conference, i.e., that we should now, forsooth, part with the power of capturing any enemy's goods at all at sea. If that is not resisted, we may as well sink our ships and shut up our arsenals. No case has been made out for devoting this enormous expenditure to the defence of un-named stations against raiding, by small vessels which have escaped from the paralysed main body of the enemy's fleet. There is only one other point I have to deal with. Again and again I 187 have endeavoured to secure the attention of this House to the intense importance of the Scilly Islands as a station for the Fleet. You have only to provide it with a breakwater, and place a few stores of biscuits and coals there. You do not want any buildings or fortifications or any garrison; a cruiser would cost less, and would suffice, while it would be movable when necessary. I have never been able to induce the First Lord of the Admiralty to assist me in this matter, although I have the authority of the greatest naval strategist known—Lord St. Vincent—who attached the utmost importance to these islands. I believe the Under Secretary for War would realise the importance did he know the position of the islands. I say that, because he drew a picture of what might occur on the trade route between Cape Clear and Ushant; does he know that the Scilly Islands are exactly midway between the two points? Of all places in the world, if we have to act in South Europe, we could have no better station. It would be most useful to the British Navy as a coaling station, and all that is wanted is a breakwater, which I have high engineering authority for saying is perfectly feasible. It would pay for itself over and over again, if a small toll were levied on shipping. Daring the Franco-German war German vessels coming from America took refuge, not at Plymouth or Ports-mouth, but in the Scilly Islands, and at one time 500 German merchant ships were there, remaining till the end of the war. I trust that this point will not be lost sight of. As to the proposal to expend £130,000 upon Wei-hai-wei, I shall not venture to enter upon that, especially as my noble and gallant friend the Member for York may have a word or two to say upon the matter. We were told by the Prime Minister that Wei-hai-wei was taken in order to infuse courage into the Chinese Empire, and as an answer to the Russian advance upon that empire. Is that policy still being adhered to? That is an open question. If we are achieving those two objects the money may be well spent; if not, then it might just as well be distributed as prize money among the sailors in the Fleet. Finally, I do say it is a most serious thing for the Government at this time of the session to come down here and propose to us a scheme of strategy essentially wrong, founded upon false principles, and showing a distrust of 188 the British Navy. It is a strong step to do this, and to ask us to incur a further debt of four millions in consequence.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
I am sure nothing could have been more lucid than the statement we have all listened to with so much pleasure from the Under Secretary of State for War. In spite of the fact that there is disagreement on some points, there is, undoubtedly, a substantial approval of his proposals by the majority of the Committee, and I think my hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth may well congratulate himself on the fact that at last in these matters we have got to this position, that while the Vote is essentially an Army Vote, and proposes an expenditure of four millions sterling on military works, the discussion, so far, has turned almost exclusively on naval matters. With regard to what has been said by the hon. Member for Dundee, I do not, of course, presume to make any statement on behalf of the Under Secretary; but I understand that while he is prepared to give us full details with regard to the works which are contemplated in the United Kingdom, he must exercise some slight reticence as to how the millions to be devoted to works of external defence will be laid out. It is obvious that it is better to withhold such information, and I therefore think the criticism of the hon. Member was a little premature. My hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn, who speaks with such immense authority on questions such as the Declaration of Paris, has taken, I think, a somewhat exaggerated line when he talks of the absolute unimportance of protecting our outlying ports against raiders. After all, there has been an attempt made to reduce this question of naval defence to an exact science, and although perhaps it has not yet absolutely succeeded, yet certain broad principles have been laid down in any steps that may be taken. I do not think the hon. Gentleman's remarks on this question carry conviction with them. He has mentioned the case in which raiding would be, if not impossible, at any rate very useless to the person undertaking it. But surely it is not very hard, by the exercise of a little ingenuity, to imagine a case where the result would not be so innocuous, and where there is a possibility of effecting 189 much greater damage than he has led us to suppose. The position of Sierra Leone is one which, for a long time, has been considered as important, and even of more importance than the Scilly Islands, and I would point out, in answer to the suggestion that no ship could land a sufficient force to carry on offensive operations effectively, that in the case of Sierra Leone there is, within a short distance, a place where a considerable hostile force could be concentrated, and one much larger than any we could, at a brief notice, bring for the defence of the place. I do not, however, wish to enter into any arguments on this question. I will only say that, having attempted to acquaint myself, as he has succeeded in doing, with much of the literature on this subject, the impression on my mind is that he has not done the best service to the cause he has at heart, because exaggeration of that kind will certainly produce a reaction in the minds of many. I think it will be generally admitted that the proposal of the War Office to the effect that limited protection is necessary at carefully selected stations all over the world is a good one. There is a very large expenditure contemplated for the building of barracks, and the carrying out of necessary works in connection with such stations. We congratulate the War Office and the hon. Member most heartily on the decision which has been come to in this matter. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the need for improving our barrack accommodation, for undoubtedly, in the minds of many soldiers, there is created a feeling—I will not say of humiliation, but of disgust, by the circumstances in which they are compelled to spend their lives in barracks. I have been in scores of barracks, and I can confirm the picture which has been drawn by my hon. friend. There was a time when the matter was of little importance. But nowadays, when we have to come into the open market in order to compete for our soldiers, it is absolutely essential that we should not make the contrast between the lives to which they are accustomed and to which they are to be introduced too abrupt and too disadvantageous to the life we ask them to enter upon. I am sure that everyone will agree that the provision of dining-rooms would be an immense step in advance. Another improvement is as to the position of the cooking-room. As soldiers know, complaint is frequently 190 made in barracks of the great distance between the kitchen and the eating-rooms, and it is a fact that this affects, to a great extent, the satisfaction and contentment of the men with the rations they receive. I aria glad that attention has been directed to this question of improved barrack accommodation, and I hope the result of this discussion will be that the hon. Member, and those for whom he speaks, will be encouraged to go a little further, and will see how much more he can give in the way of accommodation. I believe there are many who share my view that it is not altogether desirable to entrust this task to Royal Engineers, who within their particular province are unrivalled, but who are not always absolute masters of the art of providing suitable barrack accommodation. I should like the hon. Member, too, to get away from preconceived notions of barrack building. The present system began at a time when none of the scientific improvements of the present clay were known, and when nothing had been clone by great voluntary organisations for producing the maximum of comfort with the minimum of expenditure. I hope he will himself personally compare, as I am glad he has been comparing lately, what has been done in providing suitable buildings for civilians with what it is proposed to do in providing barracks for soldiers. If that is done, I believe a vast number of small matters, which will make an enormous difference in comfort, can be introduced without any extra cost. I was sorry to note one omission from the hon. Member's speech. I was sorry not to hear that something was to be done for the further improvement of St. George's Barracks. I have now, for 12 years, been urging that that should be undertaken, and I certainly was glad a few weeks ago to observe that at last the recruiting station at which two-thirds of the recruits for the British Army enter upon their career is being transformed from the miserable and disgraceful condition in which it was left so long to something not altogether unworthy of the British Army. I believe that decent baths are now being provided, and that more suitable accommodation is being set apart for the recruits while they are awaiting examination by the doctor. But much more than that is required. What we want is a central recruiting station for the Army which shall be worthy of that institution. 191 Now I come to the question of rifle ranges. The amount to be set apart for providing ranges is very small indeed—£40,000. To me it seems almost ludicrous, and I noted that the hon. Member treated it as a matter which was unimportant. Now, we have 200,000 Volunteers. I admit that hitherto they have been treated as of little value for the defence of the country. If that is the opinion, get rid of them altogether; but if you are going to retain the force and to depend upon it, surely it stands to reason that the first thing to do is to provide them with the means of firing off their rifles. They are Rifle Volunteers, and it seems to me it is like building the walls and floors of a house and then declining to put a roof on, to place the rifle in the hands of Volunteers and to give them no opportunity of learning how to use it effectively. I hope the hon. Member will be able to hold out a little more hope of supplying Volunteers with this accommodation, and I certainly do not think it is quite fair to call upon Volunteer corps in certain districts to come forward with large voluntary subscriptions in order to assist in providing the ranges. Seeing that it is a voluntary service, the least we can do is to supply their essentially military wants. In conclusion, I can only say I heartily associate myself with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Dundee, and from my hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth, with regard to one aspect of this question, which was not touched upon by the Under Secretary, but which must be considered if this great subject is ever to be satisfactorily dealt with, and that is the contribution of our self-governing colonies to the cost of Imperial defence. I have, on more than one occasion, troubled my hon. friend with inquiries as to what is going on in Canada with regard to a certain regiment. I am not now going to revive the controversy as to that regiment. But I have been informed that offers have been made by the Colonial authorities to provide barracks for this regiment tinder certain conditions. I know there is much to be said with respect to the value of these offers and the conditions attached to them. I have been anxious that we should have information on this point, because, as far as I know, that is the first substantial proposal which has been made in modern times by any great colony to grant a 192 money contribution towards the support of our military forces. There have been offers in relation to our naval forces, but I attach enormous importance to any offer that is made, either by Canada or any other colony, for I am sure that until, and unless, we get some contribution from our great self-governing colonies we shall every year find a growing reluctance on the part of this House to sanction the expenditure of these enormous sums of money. The hon. Member has been very reticent about this matter, and probably for good reasons; but I am confident that the time will come, and before very long, when that reticence will be misplaced, and when we shall have to ask the Government whether they have made any substantial progress in their endeavour to obtain from our self-governing colonies an expression of opinion as to whether they will or not take their share of the responsibilities as well as of the advantages of the union.
§ MR. WOODALL (Hanley)
The Debate has already travelled over a very wide range, and I therefore do not propose to enter into any details, especially as the natural time for that will be after the Bill has been introduced. The discussion, so far, has been very interesting, and of exceptional importance, thanks probably to the very statesmanlike manner in which the Under Secretary for War explained his proposals. I wish simply to endorse the appeal which has already been made, that either in the Bill or in the schedule of the Bill about to be introduced, or in some other way which the Under Secretary may prefer, the House shall be put into possession of much more detailed information with regard to the different localities in which the money is intended to be spent than we have been accustomed to or is furnished in the statement before the House. There is an analogy for that to be found in the Naval Works Bill. I think we should have as full information as is consistent with the public interest.
§ * LORD CHARLES BERESFORD (York)
There are one or two points which I think require greater explanation than we have yet received. There is the question of fortifying commercial harbours. I have always opposed, with, whatever force I could, the plan for fortifying commercial harbours. I do not 193 deny that there may be reason in some very limited defence in the case of a limited number of places; but if we invest money in fortifying commercial harbours we shall be employing money which ought to be devoted to mobile defence. I know the hon. Members who represent important ports occasionally suggest that a hostile cruiser or torpedo squadron might attack those places. But what in the meantime should we be about? If you have a sea fleet properly organised, its duty is to meet the enemy on the blue water and settle the question there, and it is far cheaper for the country to put money into mobile defence then to expend it on fixed defences ashore. Our traditional policy is a fighting policy, and if we go in merely for the defensive principle I do not think our Empire will last very long. We must attack on the blue water, and we take away from our power to have a big told efficient fleet if we invest a large amount of money on fixed defences ashore. The hon. Member has not stated what those defences are to be, and although I repeat that there may be places where limited defences may be necessary, they are very few indeed, and the expenditure of money on them should not be very great. Further, the hon. Member told us that his programme is not to be binding on his successors. I cannot imagine a more fatal proposition than that. The whole success of our naval defence is based on the fact that the plans are properly thought out from the beginning, and that continuity is assured. I am certain that a patchwork policy such as the hon. Gentleman advocates will defeat the whole object of spending this money. We shall not always be as well off as we are now, we may have periods of bad luck and bad trade, and then the Government of the day will naturally seek for some means of retrenchment, and it is not unlikely that the first proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be to cut off the expenditure on some of our defences. Another point I would like to call attention to is the desirability of taking the opinion of local authorities before works are undertaken. It has been brought to my notice that on many occasions, particularly at Malta and Gibraltar, the local authorities have objected, and with good reason, to the proposals of the War Office. I remember in one particular case, at Malta, that in spite of the objection of the local 194 authorities a fort was erected at a point overshadowed by two hills, and it was then found that if guns were placed upon it they could not be elevated sufficiently to fire over the nearest hill. The consequence is guns have never been placed there, and the fort is absolutely useless. I hope my hon. friend will assure the House that in this question of fixed defence there shall, before any work is undertaken, be a consultation with the local military committee. I also hope that my hon. friend will give us an assurance that we shall have full details in his Bill, for unless that is done it makes it very difficult for any Government who may be in power to ask Parliament for more money to spend on Works of a similar character, because the taxpayer has a suspicion that the sum already granted may have been wasted. The Under Secretary slurred over Wei-hai-wei as if it were a nervous topic. I want to hear a great deal more about it. As far as I understand the matter, it is proposed to spend £130,000 on barracks at Wei-hai-wei, and to keep there a garrison of, roughly speaking, 1,500 or 2,000 men. I shall oppose the proposal in every way I can. It may be said I am altering my opinion as to Wei-hai-wei. Not at all. I said Wei-hai-wei might possibly, with a little expenditure of money, be made an excellent naval base, but I said that when the Government had a totally different policy to that I understand they have now. The Government are certainly and surely drifting into a sphere-of-influence policy as against the open-door policy, and what is the use of spending a large sum of money upon a place which, under the circumstances, would become a great danger to us and to our Fleet? Wei-hai-wei is in the German sphere of influence. If the sphere-of-influence policy is to be adopted, we ought to spend money in the Yang-tsze region. The question is, Do we intend to abandon our trade in the North or not? If we are to go in for spheres of influence, let us say so. It is impossible to have the two policies, and I shall vote against any money being spent on wei-hai-wei until we know definitely what the Government intend to do for our merchants and trade in Northern China. Of the trade in the three northern ports, seven millions——
* THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order! The noble Lord is going rather away from the subject now under discussion.
§ * LORD CHARLES BERESFORD
I apologise. But I would say that Wei-hai-wei is too far from Pekin to be used for the purpose of exerting pressure on the Chinese Government. It is distinctly in the German sphere of influence, and for that reason I shall vote against any sum of money being spent there until we know distinctly what the Government policy is in China.
§ MR. WARNER
There are two or three questions on this Vote which I should like to address to the Under Secretary of State for War. The first question is as to the repayment of this loan. The honourable Gentlemen stated that it would be paid in a fixed number of years. Would he mind telling us in how many years? The number of years makes a great deal of difference, and it is rather important that in expenditure of this kind the loans should be repaid before the guns purchased become obsolete. Another question I wish to ask is, what amount of time will be given under this Bill for the works to be completed in. I want to know whether the limit is to be ten or five years, or whether there is any limit at all to be put upon the period during which the works for which this money is to be voted are to be completed. With regard to the schedule I do not want to press that point. I understand that there is to be a schedule of the barracks in the United Kingdom, but no definite statement of the works and barracks abroad. Of course, we should like as much information as possible, but I understood from the remarks of the honourable Gentleman that there would be a schedule, and that it would define the different places in England where barracks and works would be proposed.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
I hope to give very full information in regard to all barracks. The only services on which I cannot give full information are defence works.
§ MR. WOODALL
Then I understand that the places in regard to the defences of which the money is going to be spent will be stated in the schedule, but not the character of the works proposed to be erected.
§ MR. WARNER
It has been pointed out already by an expert that this pro- 196 posal is bad finance. There are two objections to this Resolution. In the first place, we are borrowing money when the country is prosperous and rich; and in the second place, we are pledging the credit of the country for years ahead instead of only year by year. These are two great financial objections to this Resolution, and I think they are objections which cannot be got over. It has been pointed out already how the Chancellor of the Exchequer has dipped into the Imperial cash-box for £6,000,000, but, besides this, he has also drawn on future Chancellors of the Exchequer for £6,000,000 more. We on this side of the House object to pledging the credit of the country and borrowing money when we are in the height of our prosperity, and when the Government ought to have large finals at their disposal—which they might have had if they had not given it away to their friends in other ways. Even during the present session there is still a possibility of a further instalment being given to some of their friends. The great necessity for this large expenditure seems to be, according to the Under Secretary of State for War, that the Army has been increased by 25,000 men, by which number the establishment of the Army has been increased. But we do not want barracks to house an establishment. What we want barracks for is to house the men. It is quite true that on paper you have increased your Army by 25,000 men, but in reality you have not increased the Army at all. If we have only got an increase in the number of men on paper, it will be just as well to have the increase in the number of barracks also on paper. I do not quarrel with the proposal for the renovation of old barracks and rebuilding them on new patterns; but it does strike me as an extraordinary argument that the establishment requires housing when the men do not really exist. I can give instances of the establishment being far ahead of the number of men. The 2nd Coldstream Guards were up to their full strength a year or two ago, but only last month they were 234 men below their establishment strength. The 3rd Scots—which is, I believe, a new battalion—was750 under their establishment. Surely this increase in the establishment, which only exists on paper, cannot be the reason for requiring this large Vote, because you cannot re- 197 quire for a mere paper Army extra housing accommodation. When you have got these extra men then it will be time enough to ask for this money. Then there are forty-five foreign stations, including Wei-hai-wei. The great advocate for the fortification of Wei-hai-wei, who is an expert upon this subject—I allude to the honourable and gallant Gentleman the Member for York—has condemned the policy of spending money at Wei-hai-wei, unless the Government alters its policy from that which it appears to be pursuing at the present moment. That appears to be another waste of money, and we desire to criticise strongly this throwing away of money on the part of the Government. Then there is a detail as to the proposal to build barracks on Salisbury Plain. I congratulate the War Office on the improvements which they are making by giving dining-rooms to the men in the barracks to be built on Salisbury Plain, and I hope the advice which has been given to the Department to-day to make other improvements will be taken into consideration, and that they will have somebody else besides the Royal Engineers to advise them as to the best shape of the rooms. I notice that the barracks at Salisbury Plain are almost all for infantry, and the cavalry have no barracks placed there at all. That is contrary to the statement of the Under Secretary for War, that there would be realised great economy in erecting cavalry barracks. The greatest economy which you could effect would be achieved by building more cavalry barracks, because you would be able to save a good deal of horseflesh which is wasted every year. I should also like to know if anything is going to be done in the way of amalgamating depots. The Under Secretary of State for War mentioned that the depôts where the new battalions had been raised would be increased, but I hope that does not mean that there will be any more small battalion depôts created. I also wish to say one word about the rifle ranges. There is a very small sum allotted for the provision of ranges in this Bill; it only amounts to £40,000. I see, however, that there is £400,000 left out of the Military Works Bill. Now, there has been practically nothing spent on ranges, and I am not speaking simply from the Volunteers' point of view, for there are many Regular regiments which the War Office itself has to provide ranges 198 for. The result has been that some of these regiments have had to go without proper instruction in musketry, and some of them have had large amounts of money spent upon sending the men on railway journeys to the range. One of these cases near Whittington Barracks I have already brought to the notice of the Under Secretary for War, but the range still remains in the same condition which it was in three or four years ago. People have been down to inspect the ground, but no further progress has been made, although negotiations are supposed to be going on. Several Militia regiments have now to be sent considerable distances away so as to be in places where they can get to a range conveniently, and even some of the Regulars have to go long distances by train in order to go through their musketry course. The money which the Government is now wasting sending these men long distances to get to a range ought to be devoted to providing facilities for practice and the procuring of ranges both for the Regulars and Volunteers. That is one of the cases where there is an immense amount of waste, and I hope that the question of the provision of more ranges will be taken in hand and not played with, for something definite should be done in the direction of providing ranges, not only for the Volunteers, but also for the Regulars and the Militia, for whom the War Office have to provide. I hope these matters will play a more important part in the policy pursued by the War Office than they have hitherto done.
§ COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)
I congratulate the Under Secretary of State for War upon the very satisfactory statement which he has just made, although, as an officer of the Army, I cannot help, deprecating the tone he has adopted in estimating the comparative values of the Navy and the Army in their united duty of defending the country. It seems to me that, in saying that he does not intend to provide for the defence of this country by soldiers, he is supplying one of the strongest arguments possible to those who are opposed to any increase in the Army, and who contend that the Army is at present too great for our necessities. If you are not going to depend on the Army as a second line of defence, there is no necessity whatever for keeping up the War Office at its present 199 enormous establishment, there is no necessity for keeping these battalions of Regulars at home, and you might reduce the Militia and Volunteers. The honourable Gentleman says that the three army corps would be a means for delivering a counter-stroke in another country. I venture to say that it is absolute madness to think of sending two army corps t fight a Continental nation, unless perhaps to be Belgium or Denmark. The object of these organised army corps is that we should have an effective second line of defence capable of repelling an invasion, and if the Army is not to be treated as a second line of defence we should always be courting invasion and encouraging foreign nations to attack this country. In addition to that, when war is declared the Navy will have to defend the United kingdom, and the Channel Fleet will be unable to leave the Channel because it would be afraid that the second line of defence would be incapable, even for a few days, of repelling invasion. The honourable Gentleman has spoken of a complete scheme of barrack accommodation, and I hope he has taken into consideration the requirements of the two or three army corps that would be required for the defence of the country. I am astonished to find that there is to be the large sum of £1,600,000 for the construction of a number of permanent barracks on Salisbury Plain to hold six battalions of infantry and seven batteries of artillery. I do not know whether the honourable Gentleman remembers an answer given by his predecessor on the 22nd larch, 1897, when he declared there was not the least intention of creating a second Aldershot on Salisbury Plain, and no intention of erecting a number of permanent barracks there. I merely instance it as another case in which the utterances of responsible Ministers in the House of Commons are set aside by the military advisers of the War Office. They appear to entirely ignore what is said here. It is a very good thing for trespassers not to read the notices against trespassing, and it is probably on the same principle that the military advisers of the War Office do not read what is officially said here. For my part I do not say that Salisbury Plain is an unsuitable place; my objection is that we are going to make Salisbury Plain anther Curragh or Aldershot; a mould into which every unit has to be pressed 200 into a new shape. My experience is that every unit that goes to Aldershot is told as a matter of course that he is inefficient, probably one of the worst they have had, and when he goes away that he is one of the best. The result is that a great deal of time which should be devoted to the training of men is given up to finding out the particular fads of the commanding general and the staff, and that unit does not learn a quarter of his military duties. If the honourable Gentleman would study more carefully the grouping of regiments into brigades, and let them move about the country, a great deal of the objection to Aldershot and the Curragh would be remedied. I am very much obliged to the honourable Gentleman for what he has said in regard to dining-halls in these new barracks. It is not an entirely new departure. Some of the new barracks at Aldershot have them, although they have not been adopted in the new barracks in Dublin. I would ask the honourable Gentleman whether he would see that the system is also applied to any new cavalry barracks that may be built. I cannot agree with the honourable Member for Lichfield, who thinks we ought to construct cavalry barracks on Salisbury Plain in order to avoid the wear and tear of horseflesh. The idea of manœuvres is that cavalry should go a long distance from home and carry with them all they require in the way of encampment and forage, just as if they were on active service, and if the manœuvres were to be within a few miles of the barracks all the advantages would be lost. I am very sorry the honourable Gentleman does not see his way at present to adopt the cubicle system, which should at least be experimented upon. I do not suggest that every room should be on the cubicle system, but certain rooms might be, and if men refused to sleep in them or misused them in any way, or absented themselves from barracks and were not found out because they occupied cubicles, then they might be drafted into the old-fashioned rooms. That would enable the system to be experimented on, and the authorities would be able to judge of its advantages and disadvantages. In some of the old-fashioned rooms there is one cubicle for a non-commissioned officer, and everyone can see what a privilege it is considered and how home-like it is made in photographs and little ornaments. I am perfectly certain that the want of homeliness is a great drawback to the Army at the 201 present time. Not only has education spread throughout the country, but home life has spread enormously among the population from which our soldiers are drawn. Every honourable Member acquainted with a British barrack room knows what a bare, bleak, unhome-like place it is, and it is no wonder that a great many respectable men refuse to remain in the Army. There is nothing more bleak than the whitewashed walls, nothing uglier than the iron bed fittings. As a matter of fact, the whole equipment of a barrack room was designed in days when the Army was a school for ne'er-do-wells and bad characters, and it was more like the equipment of a prison than anything else.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The honourable and gallant Gentleman is now going into details perhaps suitable for the consideration of the Bill in Committee, but wholly out of place on this motion, which is really equivalent to a motion for leave to bring in a Bill.
§ COLONEL WELBY
On the question of cubicles which the honourable Gentleman mentioned, it would be very easy for a non-commissioned officer passing along a passage to see whether they were inhabited or not. I think that the improvements in barrack accommodation which the hon. Gentleman fore-shadowed will be gratefully accepted by the Committee. They will remove some of the great difficulties now experienced in getting men for the Army, and if we cannot in some way or other encourage men to go into the Army, then we may have to abandon the voluntary system for a compulsory system.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
In the almost perfect speech of the Under Secretary for War there are one or two points which remain in doubt. I have heard three interpretations placed upon some remarks which fell from him. The Under Secretary said there was nothing in the Bill which would bind his successors. I do not know what the phrase "our successors" may have meant. The noble lord the Member for York looks upon it as meaning that there is to be no continuity of policy, but I am quite sure the Under Secretary did not mean that. 202 It is, of course, possible that he was looking forward—as a witty honourable Member remarked—to the time when the Financial Secretary and himself will have obtained the promotion to which they are entitled, and which they deserve. The interpretation I put upon the phrase was that the period over which the money was to be spent would be so short that practically it would not bind any Government likely to come into office in the future. The honourable Gentleman did not tell us over how many years the money was to be spread, and if he did he would tell us his opinion of the probable length of life of the present Government. That statement has been made with reference to previous military and naval loans Bills, and that brings me to the schedule. Various questions have been asked regarding it, and as the Under Secretary shook his head when an honourable Member on these benches mentioned it, it was rather gathered that there would be no schedule. In 1897 it is true, there was no schedule, but there was a separate paper. We ought certainly to have a schedule such as that in the Naval Works Bill, which would enable us to discuss the main items of expenditure. It is obviously impossible to hind ourselves two or three years beforehand as to what our expenditure may be—the Admiralty has already somewhat failed in that respect—but still we ought to know what are the intentions of the Government in the matter, although we cannot bind them to carry out these intentions. The Under Secretary suggested that there was some danger in giving this detailed information because of foreign nations, but that is a danger altogether exaggerated. In the case mentioned by the honourable Member for West Belfast it is absolutely impossible to conceal from a country having neighbouring colonies what our military preparations there were. They can tell the strength of our garrisons from time to time, and it seems to me idle to suppose that the concealment of information from this Committee would be a concealment from foreign nations. We have a right to have the whole statement laid before us. The noble Lord the Member for York took special objection to the item with regard to Wei-hai-wei. I confess it seems to me that we must vote to-day on the general principle of the expenditure, and if we are to have anything like a schedule in 203 the Bill of course there will be an opportunity of moving the omission of that or any other item, but I think the Bill ought to be presented in a form which will give us that opportunity. We ought not to be committed to-day in such a manner as would render us unable to vote against any particular item, simply because we assent to the general resolution. The Under Secretary in one part of his speech, looking somewhat sternly across the floor, attacked an imaginary school of politicians who were prepared to grant any amount of money to the Navy, but, except for naval purposes which to some extent are covered by military works, would refuse to grant expense to the Army. I am quite unaware of the existence of any such school. I have never seen any development of it in this House. Some honourable Members—and I have taken a part in opposing them—are opposed to all naval and military expenditure, and attack both alike in a somewhat vague and general way, but I have not found in this House any disposition to grant all the money the Navy desires and to refuse to grant money to the Army. What some of us have said is that the Admiralty give full value for the money they receive, but that we are highly sceptical about the military authorities giving full value for the money they get. I should not be in order in discussing that now, but we believe—as the Under Secretary so ably stated to-day—that it is essential for this country to possess a very much more efficient Army than it has at present, not only having regard to India and the Colonies and the purposes of home defence, but with a view of inflicting a counterstroke on our opponents. Although it would be out of the question for us to take part in a Continental war without allies, yet it is impossible to see how peace could be obtained at the conclusion of a war without using our Army. In the case of any Power against which we should be called on to fight it is almost impossible to realise how the Navy could secure peace without a mobile Army to inflict a counter-stroke. It seems to me that otherwise war would drag on interminably. We believe firmly in a highly mobile Army. I share the views of the honourable and gallant Member (Sir J. Colomb) that we are too much inclined to spend money in fixed defences. We ought to be able to destroy any attacking force before the attack is delivered. I deprecate the sugges- 204 tion that there exists in this House any school of critics which thinks that expenditure on the Army is unnecessary; but it must see that the War Office gives us a full return for our money.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
We have listened to nine or ten very interesting speeches, but I would point out that I, as well as every other member of the Committee, labour under a certain difficulty in answering the questions which have been asked, because we have not the Bill and the schedule in our hands. Quite a number of questions would never have been asked if the discussion were deferred to a later and more convenient stage. When I spoke of "our successors" I simply meant those who as the Government of the day, as military advisers of the War Office, and as members of a Committee sitting in this House four or five years hence, would have to go on with the work in which I hope the Government and Parliament will make a considerable advance this afternoon. I meant that, and no more. Then as to what I said about not binding our successors. I think the honourable Member for Aberdeen drove home that point more energetically than other honourable Members who have taken part in the discussion, and he argued, despite disclaimers, that these proposals committed our successors to future expenditure. That is not so. What we have been careful to avoid is to place upon them any Parliamentary liability or any financial responsibility, but neither we nor any one else can absolve them from the natural and patriotic responsibility which lies with every Government to go on with work which is absolutely necessary if our soldiers are to be properly housed and if our Empire is to be successfully defended. I am attacked from another point of view, namely, that we are asking for four millions, and that four millions will not do all that we think ought to be done in the way of defence, and the construction and reconstruction of barracks and that therefore we are proceeding in a patchwork manner. To this I reply that we have a complete scheme and, although we are only dealing with one essential part of it now, we have done our best to show our successors what our views are on this important problem. Passing to the question of the schedule, I can assure the Committee that full information will be given, but in giving it we 205 shall follow the form in the Act of 1897, and not the Naval Works Act. In the Act of 1897 there was a schedule in the Bill which contained only four heads, but there was an explanatory circular which gave the names of all the stations where barracks were to be erected, and very considerable details. In the present case it is intended to follow the precedent and to have a schedule in the Bill, and also a further explanatory schedule showing in detail the expenditure upon barracks proposed under this Bill, and in outline what we consider necessary for a complete scheme in respect to defences and barracks. But with regard to defence works the Government must abide by the view that it is not desirable to give full information. As to barracks, full information will be given; but as to the earthworks necessary for the guns information will not be given. I do not know whether I need take up the right honourable Baronet's reference to the school of critics I have already mentioned. I do not think it is quite so imaginary as he appears to suppose. If certain important Members of this House put the case of the Navy extravagantly high, they lead many people in the country to suppose that it is unnecessary to have an Army at all. If I may borrow a phrase from my noble friend the Member for York, this "blue water" school would teach the people of this country that they need not bear any military burdens at all, and that they might repose all their confidence in the Navy. That may not be their intention, but that is the deduction which is freely drawn from their arguments. The honourable and gallant Member for Taunton complained in his speech that I did not make enough of the Army. Nothing is further from my thoughts than to disparage the Army by not seeming to place a sufficient value on its services. What I mean is this. If there were no Navy and no sea, except as a means of cheap transport, there would have to be conscription, and instead of only three army corps there would have to be 20 or 25. I think I have endeavoured to tread a middle way between these two schools. The honourable Member for Dundee and some of the speakers who succeeded him made an attack upon the method of proceeding by loan instead of by Estimate. I think it was the honourable Member who threw out the suggestion, which I am bound to say astonished me, that if the Chancellor of the Ex- 206 chequer had a large surplus at command, he ought to have devoted it to this service. I should be very much surprised if the Chancellor of the Exchequer did anything of the kind.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
Well, he might have aided the loans, ha the rule is that surpluses are devoted to the reduction of taxation. The reason for proceeding by loan is not because the Government desire to stave off their obligations or responsibilities, but because it has been proved to the point of demonstration that the method of proceeding by Estimate is most wasteful and extravagant. Lord Randolph Churchill's Committee made us familiar with that. It appeared from the evidenee of Sir Lothian Nicholson before that Committee that, of a total of £800,000 which he considered essential for the good of the Service and the State, the Secretary of State sanctioned about £14,000 as a first instalment of a total of £115,000 Would anyone believe that it is economical to begin patching and fiddling in that manner? No, we think it is right to proceed by loan, even in Days of abounding surpluses; but we give to the House an ample control over our policy. Not only do we give the schedule to the Bill to which I have referred, but every year we shall present a Return at the opening of the session, such as is circulated to-day, showing the estimated expenditure on barracks during the current year. And therefore the difference between our method of procedure and the procedure under the Naval Works Act is merely Parliamentary. We give the same information in our Return instead of in the Bill, a method which has involved a certain amount of inconvenience. I doubt whether I should be justified in following my critics in reference to particular barracks. The honourable Member for the Lichfield Division complained of the omission of additional accommodation in cavalry barracks from the scheme we have put before the House. I can only remind the House that under the recent additions to the Army no unit has been added to the cavalry, and that we have no immediate urgency for additional accommodation for cavalry, as we have for infantry 207 and artillery. I will tell exactly what additions have been made to the Army up to the 1st June. We have raised 7 batteries of field artillery, 6 companies of garrison artillery, 1 battalion of foot guards, and 4 battalions of infantry of the line, and added 30 men to the home battalions. We have raised the West Indian, the West African, and the Central African battalions, and have begun with the Chinese battalion. One depôt and 3 companies have been added to the Army Service Corps. I have listened with great interest to the speech of my honourable and gallant friend the Member for Great Yarmouth, who is an expert in naval Matters. I am not, although it has fallen to my lot to touch upon naval affairs in the course of my statement, because the needs of the Army and the needs of the Navy in this regard are very closely interlocked. I will not attempt to follow closely the honourable and gallant Member's remarks, but I may take this opportunity to dispel an illusion which seems to lurk in many minds, that the War Office—that is to say, the soldiers who advise the War Office—ride rough-shod over the sailors in these matters, that they get a lodgment, so to speak, in naval stations, and conduct matters not in a naval, but rather in a military manner. My noble friend the Member for York asked whether the conference between Admiral Beauchamp and Sir Henry Brackenbury had been in touch with the men on the spot at the naval stations. What are the steps taken in these matters? In the first place, the men on the spot report to and keep in close touch with the joint Naval Military Committee of which eminent soldiers and sailors are members. That Committee works upon the whole of the case, and submits it in its entirety to the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet, having the case prepared for them by the joint Naval and Military Committee, based upon information supplied by soldiers and sailors on the spot, of course dictate the policy of the Government of the day. Therefore the honourable and gallant Member for Great Yarmouth must admit that there is no room for any soldier, however eminent, to take a land view instead of a sea view of these problems. I am not prepared to follow the honourable Member for King's Lynn in his contribution to the Debate. No doubt, through the imperfect way in 208 which I conveyed my ideas in my first speech, the honourable Member is under a misapprehension as to the amount of money that is to be spent in defending our commercial ports against raids, and in support of what he called the new policy of depending on fortresses instead of depending on the Navy. What are these enormous sums? The whole sum taken for defensive works under the proposed Bill and under the Defence Act of 1897 only amounts to a little over two millions, sterling.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
I am not following that line. The real sting of the honourable Member's attack was that we were building fortresses in order to protect our commerce in our commercial ports, instead of depending on the Navy. Under the two Acts we have only asked for a little more than two millions, and even if the future scheme of the Government, which we regard as a complete scheme, were passed by our successors, less than 2½ millions would be spent on all defence works, including those at the: principal naval bases, the secondary naval bases, and the coaling stations. I ask the honourable Gentleman by what process of reasoning a small portion of an expenditure of little more than two millions can be legitimately described as an enormoussum?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The honourable Gentleman has left out of sight the £6,600,000 applied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for naval and military works, and the sum in addition in the Army Votes.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
I have not these figures before me, but I think my honourable friend is exaggerating the amount taken in the Estimates. There is only a little over half a million for defence works in the past ten years. I pass from that, and come to the speech of the honourable Member for Belfast, who took a very kindly view of the intentions of the Government to raise the standard of comfort in barracks. The honourable Member suggested that we ought not to trust altogether for the designs of the new barracks to the Royal Engineers. I cannot be a 209 party to throwing any doubt upon the capacity of the design branch of the War Office. Our confidence in that branch has been fully justified, because we have submitted the designs that have been drawn up by the branch to Sir John Taylor, and he had scarcely anything to criticise and little to suggest. The honourable Member mentioned some constructions like Rowton House, and no doubt from such constructions We may be able to pick up a wrinkle or two; but I would remind the Committee that no amount of modern improvement will ever meet the special necessities of soldiers, who have to turn in and out many times in the course of the day. The new barracks to be erected will only consist of two storeys, instead of the three or more storeys which have hitherto prevailed. In regard to rifle ranges, we are about to spend a good deal of money under the Act of 1897. A range in the neighbourhood of large towns may cost from £10,000 to £40,000, and it is idle, therefore, to ask any Government to buy ranges for all the Volunteer corps. What we hope to do is, by improving the facilities of access, and introducing some amendments in the travelling allowances, to assist the Volunteer corps to a large extent. I think I have replied to most of the questions which the noble Lord the Member for York put in his speech, except one in which he invited me on to very delicate grounds. I must respectfully decline that invitation. It is bad enough to have to speak on some Admiralty matters, but if I were to take up Foreign Office affairs I should trespass beyond my sphere of interest and get out of my depth very shortly. I am aware that the discussion has been conducted under certain disabilities; but as we shall not be able to introduce the Bill until the Resolution is passed, I think the Committee would really consult their own convenience best by adopting the Resolution, and allowing the Government to submit the details Of their proposals.
§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
I intend to divide the Committee against the Resolution as a protest against the continued waste of public money on needless military works—works which, I venture to say, will be considered in a few years' time to be as obsolete as those which are to be replaced by this money. I also think that a protest is required against the 210 inconsistency of what we are doing this afternoon. Here We are called upon to vote four million pounds of the people's taxes, in addition to all the millions already voted for the military necessities of the country, at the very moment when the representatives of Great Britain at the Peace Conference at The Hague are talking of peace and the necessity of reducing the armaments of the European Powers. I have an especial objection to some of the items. It is proposed to spend 630,000 dollars on military works at Halifax, Bermuda, the West Indies, and other points on the Atlantic. My view is that this is altogether unnecessary, because at the present time this Government and the Government of the United States are engaged in sending love messages across the Atlantic. Surely, when you are carrying on this diplomatic lovemaking you ought not to be making preparations for an attack. Against whom are these military preparations to be directed eventually? These guns are not turned against Germany or Russia; they are pointed to these Transatlantic cousins, and if you are sincere in your professions of love you are acting in an insidious and perfidious manner in wasting your money on these works.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfar)
I cannot go as far as my honourable friend who has just spoken in condemning this expenditure; but I to think that it is worthy of the attention of the House that this expenditure is proposed to be incurred at an interval which is much less than on previous occasions after other vast expenditure. There was an interval of seven years between previous loans, whereas another loan is asked for after only two years. I was astonished to hear the honourable Gentleman allude to these days as days of abounding surpluses, for I have never heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaking of abounding surpluses. I agree with the honourable Member for King's Lynn in pressing home to the Government this enormous additional expenditure. I regret this Bill was not introduced at an earlier period of the session. The Works Bill in 1897 was introduced in February, certainly not later than March; and here we are, at the end of June, asked to consider a Bill of great magnitude and importance which would inevitably lay down the principles of 211 the policy of our defence at home and abroad for years. I would have been glad if the Government had presented to the House the opinions of the naval and military experts on which this expenditure is based. This House has intervened on such questions before, and I do think we should press the Government to give as full information as possible in regard to the defences abroad. It is of great importance that the information given should be on a schedule attached to the Act by which the administration of the powers under that Act should be bound and limited. The Government has not been conspicuous in taking the House into its confidence in regard to what sums are to be spent abroad. We have gone from stage to stage, each stage involving us in new consequences, until finally we are surprised and astonished at the result. For instance, there has been a perfectly honest endeavour to understand what the Government intend to do in regard to Wei-hai-wei. We were put off at first with the statement that a few hundreds of pounds were to be spent in dredging. Then another sum was asked for for a survey; and then another sum to pay for a Chinese regiment. We have, step by step, been forced into a kind of policy of drift in this matter, and have not been able to look at the question as a whole. As regards home defence, it is exceedingly important that the expenditure under the Act should be in the schedule, and that that expenditure should be abided by. There was a lavish expenditure on the distribution of troops through the United Kingdom thirty or forty years ago, which has been an obstacle to improvement ever since. I should, however, not be disposed to prejudge the future arrangements for the home garrisons and home defence. There is another reason for pressing on the Government an exhaustive schedule to the Bill. It has been the case in the past, and possibly it will be in the future, that items may be found in the schedule which are also found in the Estimates of the year. I do not think the Government could help undertaking this expenditure, but I do regret that they have not done, something to press home more directly on the taxpayers of the country the responsibilities which they are now incurring. There is no increase of taxation, and yet we are involving the country in great liabilities for the military and 212 naval Services. I do not think this is a sound, honest, or courageous policy.
§ * COLONEL BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
should like to congratulate my hon. friend the Under Secretary for War on the very interesting, clear, and bold speech which he made in introducing these proposals. He is also to be congratulated on the ability with which he has replied to the various criticisms which have been levelled at them. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down expressed what we so often hear from those benches, the alarm the taxpayer must feel at the growing expenditure of the country; but all I believe the average taxpayer contends for is the view so often advocated by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, that we should obtain proper value for our money; and ill the statement of my hon. friend nothing could be more satisfactory than the indication he gave of combined naval and military policy, for which so many of us have so frequently contended. I cannot at all agree with the hon. Member for Lichfield, and one or two others, that a policy of this kind should be subjected to annual review at the hands of this House. I believe continuity of policy is above all things desirable, with as little politics blended with it as possible. I mainly rose to say a few words on the second portion of my hon. friend's remarks, viz., with reference to barracks. My hon. friend summarised the whole philosophy of that question in the phrase that what we should seek to provide for soldiers was good houses in the right place. To take the second point first, I am very glad that the principle of grouping together military units in the country is being faithfully carried out, not only for the highest strategic reasons—with which I will not presume to deal—but for the simple fact that the great difficulty of finding adequate ranges and manœuvring ground makes it more necessary than ever that large numbers of troops should be put in places where those advantages are provided for them. I also begin to think that the old brigade depot systems sooner or later will have to be re-examined, and the question of building barracks will again arise in that connection. I have often said I think the home battalions are subjected to a very unnecessary amount of moving about. I think this interferes with recruiting, as well as with the comfort of 213 barracks. I could never thoroughly understand why regiments should not be more territorialised, and each home battalion practically kept in one place. I believe if the home battalions were not moved about at all it would save an immense sum of money, and at the same time attract a better class of recruits. I am glad the hon. Gentleman is alive to the desirability of going further in the direction of securing more personal comfort and privacy for the soldier. I am glad that he has not given way to the demand for cubicles. They are very attractive at first sight, but I believe there are some considerations which should make him set his face against them. I very much doubt if any expert on the subject of sanitation would recommend cubicles in preference to large rooms. Then, from another point of view, they add to the cleaning up; they are dirty and untidy, for as it is there are many hidden recesses in every barrack room for hiding away bones and other refuse at the last moment, and such recesses would be increased if these insanitary and untidy dens were provided for every soldier in the Army. Lastly, I believe it might have a very serious effect upon discipline. If the young non-commissioned officer of the present stamp—which, I am sorry to say, is not quite as good as it used to be—were shut up in a cubicle he would present an irresistible target to soldiers of a certain stamp armed with boots outside the cubicle after he had gone to bed. Before I sit down I should like to associate myself entirely with my hon. friend the Member for Belfast in his remarks about Volunteers in connection with ranges. The House of Commons will have an opportunity of expressing its opinion as to the whole policy observed towards Volunteers, as to utilising them, or rather not utilising them, as part of the effective forces of the country. But I quite admit that so long as they occupy their present status and are allowed such immense immunities in the matter of discipline and freedom from real military duty, it is perfectly fair to call upon them to contribute to the cost of ranges.
MR. POWER (Waterford County, E.)
During this session we have had various Debates on the subject of expenditure, and enormous sums have been voted by this House. It is said, and perhaps justly, that Great Britain has a great 214 interest in these matters. No doubt the trade of England, Scotland, and Wales is enormously interested, and the expenditure on naval and military works is to some extent an insurance for it. Bat what particular interest has Ireland in this expenditure? It is no benefit to us. We have, however, to pay the piper, and I think the Report of the Commission proves that we in Ireland pay very much more than our proper share. Anyone who reads the history of this country will acknowledge that Irish arms and Irish brains and Irish blood have done their part in building up and extending British influence, but I should like to know what we have got for our excessive loyalty.
§ MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)
I am very sorry to delay the Committee in going to a Division, but there is one criticism I desire to make. It must be remembered that these matters do not merely concern the professional element, whether naval or military, or amateur experts like the honourable Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Gibson Bowles) and the honourable Member for West Belfast (Mr. Arnold-Forster); they concern the nation as a whole. I want to call the attention of the Committee to one point which is in the minds of many people in the country, and which I think has been brought out very much in the course of the Debate this afternoon. What do we see? We have a motion brought in by the honourable Member who is, I suppose, the official mouthpiece of the Army in this House, and up to luncheon the discussion was almost entirely naval. One honourable Member went so far as to say that this motion ought to have been brought in by the head of the Admiralty, and another honourable Member said he was delighted to see that the whole discussion had been on naval matters. I would venture to point out to the House that this indicates a very great amount of inconsistency or weakness in regard to our arrangement of those matters, and I would tell the Committee that it is a weakness which many people in the country are alive to, and which this Committee will have to put right if our fighting forces are to be conducted properly. The time has come when we should work two separate branches like the Navy and the Army each with a head in this House, but a general head fur the whole. The honour- 215 able Member, I believe, is technically the Under Secretary for War. This debate has brought out the fact that he really ought to be Secretary for War, not the Secretary for the Army or for the Navy. If ever this country is to manage its fighting forces properly it will have to make up a new and better organisation. We must regard our forces, whether on land or sea, as one thing. You might as well have a Minister for artillery, a Minister for cavalry, and a Minister for infantry.
§ MR. HARWOOD
It is relevant, if I may say so, in this way, that the course of the discussion has shown the impossibility of dividing naval and military matters, and therefore the House has the right to ask that questions dealt with in this Bill shall he brought forward by a Minister who is responsible for both, and who can adequately consider both points of the problem.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
We have heard a good deal about the Bill, in the course of this Debate, from the naval point of view. It seems to me, however, that the principal amount is involved for military works, and I do not think that that fact has been sufficiently recognised by the Committee. I should like to congratulate the Government on two points in bringing in this Bill. In the first place they recognise what has been urged for years by experts—the desirability of grouping together larger units than hitherto. The fact that they propose to spend £1600,000 on Salisbury Plain will rejoice the hearts of those who, like the right honourable Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, maintain that we fritter away our forces in towns and thereby impair their military efficiency. I think the Government have taken a great step in advance. If they could only take another step, and try and get rid of some of the wretched old barracks in the towns, they would still further earn the gratitude of those who have studied the question. Then there is another point on which I think they are to be equally congratulated, and that is that they propose to do something for the better comfort of soldiers in 216 barracks. We hear a good deal of the, housing of the working classes, and I think even the honourable Gentlemen opposite will sympathise with a proposal that affects the working soldier. At present he starts the day by having to go about half a mile to wash; when he has done that he goes out in the field, and subsequently returns to his meals. The midday meal is brought from another quarter of the barracks—sometimes three-quarters of a mile distant—and it arrives rather cold. When he sits down to eat his food he is often interrupted, and the enjoyment of the meal spoilt, by a friend of his brushing out his clothes prior to going on guard. The proposed dining-halls will be a great improvement on the present dining arrangements. I may remind the Committee that they exist in nearly every army in the world. Somehow or other it is only lately that we have woke up to the necessity of these rooms. There is one other matter that I should like to recommend to the consideration of the Under Secretary of State, and that is the need for the better lighting of the rooms. Barracks are dismal places, and there is often one solitary gas-jet in a room for thirty men. It is impossible for men to read in these rooms, and the consequence is that they are driven into the streets or the public-houses. It seems to me extraordinary that in these days of scientific improvements no better arrangements are made for lighting the barracks, either by some system of incandescent lighting or even by electric light. I had been hoping to hear from the Under Secretary that some effort would be made to try the cubicle system in the new barracks. I do not believe that under that system discipline would suffer in any way, and it is more than probable that its adoption would attract a better class of recruits to the Army. I cannot agree with the honourable Member for South Mayo that the United States will regard the expenditure on the barracks at Halifax as a menace. I can assure him that there are no barracks in the world which require renovation so much as those at Halifax. I congratulate the War Office on their enlightened policy in trying to make the soldier more comfortable than he has been hitherto.
§ MR. WARNER
There are two or three questions which I should like the Under Secretary to answer. I put them 217 before, but did not get a reply. The first is, How many years is the redemption of this loan to be spread over?
§ MR. WARNER
The second is, Whether the amount of time for the completion of the works will be entered in the schedule?
§ MR. WARNER
I maintain, notwithstanding the statement of the honourable Gentleman, that the actual numbers of the Army have not been materially increased. The increase of 25,000 men is an increase on paper only. In addition to that, in spite of there being no practical increase in the Household Brigade, there have been the greatest efforts to increase it. During the last few years the authorities have reduced the standard by four inches.
§ MR. WARNER
The other point I wish to put is that there are 14 ranges to be bought, or whatever it is called. Could we he given any assurance that some fixed number of those ranges will be made within the present year? I am afraid that those 14 ranges, like the 25,000 men, are also on paper.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
I want to ask whether the Government intend in connection with this matter to consider the advisability of keeping regiments in large centres of population from which recruits are obtained, with a view to obtaining the number of men they require, and in order to keep up the recruiting in this country.
§ MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Bright-side)
We have had some interesting points put by military Members about cubicles, and the smell of Irish stew, and other more or less important reforms, but some of us are not content with these details. We strongly object to these constant sums of money which the House is called upon to vote for military and naval expenditure. Sometimes it is the Navy, and then very forcible appeals 218 are made about maintaining our first line of defence, and we are always assured that in maintaining the first line of defence less money is required for the Army. When that Vote is obtained, honourable Members use very similar language for increased expenditure on the Army. A good deal of solicitude has been shown for the private soldier. I have very serious as to the direct benefits that go to that individual. I am afraid that a good deal of the money is lost on the way.
§ MR. MADDISON
That is my opinion. I said "lost," and it is a misfortune to lose anything. Let me give one illustration that came under my own notice with respect to the private soldier and the way he is treated, in spite of all the large sums of money that are voted. The honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for War knows the case, and so far as he was concerned everything was done promptly that could be done. Here is the father of a lad serving in one of Her Majesty's regiments in India. He gets to know indirectly that his son is seriously ill. He is too poor to send a telegram; he appeals to me, and I write to the permanent head of the War Office.
* THE CHAIRMAN
Order! This has nothing whatever to do with military works; it might be a subject for criticism on the Army Estimates.
I was only using it as an illustration. However, I drop that at once, and say that there are thousands and tens of thousands of people in this country who are living in a miserable and wretched condition, and, being constantly called upon to vote these huge sums of money for the Army, I feel it to be my solemn duty to protest. The only sums of money that go easily through this House are those which are devoted to military or naval expenditure, with an occasional variant to landlords and parsons. The time has come when we should enter our protest against this sort of thing. The expenditure is going up by leaps and bounds, and at the same time nothing is being done for the soldiers of industry, upon and through whose labour 219 it is alone possible to maintain your Army and Navy. When is this expenditure to stop? It is quite certain it will never stop with this Government; but what is worse is that the hands of future Governments are being more or less tied up by these loans, and they have to continue this extravagant and pernicious
§ policy. After careful thought I deliberately register my protest, and if a Division is taken I shall vote against this, expenditure, which unless checked will ultimately bring ruin on the country.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 66. (Division List No. 202.)221
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lambert, George|
|Aird, John||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Doughty, George||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Doxford, William Theodore||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swan.)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dyke, Rt. Hn Sir William Hart||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Liverpool)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Evershed, Sydney||Lopes, Henry Yard Buller|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Fardell, Sir T. George||Lowe, Francis William|
|Baird, John George Alex.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James(Kent)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon.G.W.(Leeds)||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Finch, George H.||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Barry, SirFrancis T.(Windsor)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Fisher, William Hayes||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Beach, W W Bramston (Hants.)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Beaumont, Went worth C. B.||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||M'Calmont, Col. (Antrim, E.)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Fry, Lewis||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W|
|Bethell, Commander||Galloway, William Johnson||M'Killop, James|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gedge, Sydney||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.|
|Bill, Charles||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Goschen, Rt Hn G J (St George's)||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Bond, Edward||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.)|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Melville, Beresford V.|
|Brassey, Albert||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Greene, W. R. (Cambs.)||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Brookfield, A Montagu||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Milbank, Sir P. C. John|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Gunter, Colonel||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Milner, Sir Fred. George|
|Butcher, John George||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Milton, Viscount|
|Caldwell, James||Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle)||Monk, Charles James|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Heath, James||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol)||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. (Birm.)||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Holland, W. H. (York, W.R.)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Myers, Wm. Henry|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Newdigate, FrancisAlexander|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E||Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Coddington, Sir William||Jackson, Rt. Hon. W. Lawies||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Norton, Captain C. W.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Johnson, William (Belfast)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Joicey, Sir James||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Ed. T. D.||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Kearley, Hudson E.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton)||Kemp, George||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Kenyon, James||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pease, Sir Joseph w. (Durham)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kinloch, Sir John George S.||Penn, John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Kitson, Sir James||Percy, Earl|
|Denny, Colonel||Knowles, Lees||Perks, Robert William|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Pilkington, R (Lancs. Newton)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Pilkington, SirG. A. (LancsSW)||Spencer, Ernest||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Spicer, Albert|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Price, Robert John||Stevenson, Francis S.||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Purvis, Robert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. McT.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Stirling-Max well Sir John M.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Richardson, Sir Thos.(Hartlep'l||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudders.)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Sutherland, Sir Thomas||Wylie, Alexander|
|Robinson, Brooke||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wyndhaw, George|
|Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.||Thornburn, Walter||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Thornton, Percy M.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Rutherford, John||Tollemache, Henry James||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw.Murray|
|Sharpe, William Edward T.||Tritton, Charles Ernest||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Valentia, Viscount||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)||Wallace, Robert|
|Allen, Wm. (New. u. Lyme)||Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, Jas.(Wicklow, W.)|
|Austin, M.||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Gibney, James||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Hammond, John (Carlow)||Samuel. J. (Stockton-on Tees)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Burns, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. CharlesH.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Horniman, Frederick John||Souttar, Robinson|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Jordan, Jeremiah||Steadman, William Charles|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Labouchere, Henry||Strachey, Edward|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caitliness-sh.)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid(Cmb'land||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Colville, John||Leng, Sir John||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Commins, Andrew.||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lloyd-George, David||Warner, Thomas C. T.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacAleese, Daniel||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Duckworth, James||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qu'nsC)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Ewan, William||Woods, Samuel|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan||M'Ghee, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Maddison, Fred.||Mr. Davitt and Mr. Power.|
|Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
Bill read a second time.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
Shall I be in order in asking when we may expect a copy of the Bill and the papers?
§ Resolved, That it is expedient to authorise the issue, out of the Consolidated Fund, in addition to the sums authorised by the Military Works Act, 1897, of such further sums, not exceeding in the whole £4,000,000, as may be required for defraying the cost of certain military works and services, such sums to be raised in manner provided by the said Act.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.