§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. PRETYMAN, Suffolk, Wood-bridge)
said, as there seems to be a little confusion in the minds of some hon. Members as to the origin and financial history of this Bill, it might be convenient, and would be according to precedent, before moving the Bill to make a general statement as to the progress of naval works and the reasons for the addition to those works which were now proposed. The hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn has complained that the expenditure proposed under the Bill is very much larger than the amount which used to suffice under Vote 10 years ago.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said his principal objection was that the Government proposed to obtain £27,000,000 by a permanent Act which would remove the expenditure from the control of the House.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
It is because Vote 10 has been kept for years below the amount at which it ought to have stood in order to keep pace with the increase in the Navy that the House is now asked by this Bill to make up the arrears. From 1876 to 1893 Vote 10 only once just touched £500,000; it was kept at the one dead level, while during the same period there was a steady increase on the general Navy Vote of between £3,000,000 and £5,000,000. Therefore it was not sufficient, starting with Vote 10 some ten or fifteen years after the increase in the General Vote has taken place, to keep level; you have the arrears to make up. But there are other considerations in addition to the mere making up of arrears in the old proportions which had existed formerly. The new proportion which has arisen of late years is altogether different, because in the old days a first-class battleship such as the "Victory" could 736 go into docks such as we possess, but the House will perhaps be surprised to learn that a first-class destroyer cannot be placed in a dock which would accommodate the "Victory," and when we remember what a small proportion the torpedo-destroyers bear in regard to the general increase in the Navy, it will be seen that the increase in the length and size of the ships necessitated improved dockyard and berth accommodation. Modern cruisers of the "Drake" class are over 500 feet in length, and of the "Cressy" class from 400 feet to 500 feet in length. The battleships are 400 feet in length, and their beam and the shape of their hulls make it impossible for them to be placed in many of the existing docks without large alterations and additions. Another consideration is that in the old days our ships could lie in safety in roadsteads, such as in the Solent or at Spithead, but now the invention of torpedoes has made it necessary that a large proportion of our ships should be enclosed in torpedo safe harbours, and all that has added to the class of work with which this Bill is largely concerned—namely, the provision of defended harbours and docks. The increase in the personnel of the Navy has also to be considered. Up to a few years ago the personnel of the Navy, when in harbour, were accommodated mainly in hulks, but it has now been decided that it is necessary to provide largely for the accommodation of the personnel in barracks on shore. That has entailed a very heavy expenditure of a permanent character, which is also included in this Bill. Then there is the hospital accommodation for the personnel, which was formerly not what it should have been, but which now, owing to the work which has been done, is either in a perfectly satisfactory condition or rapidly approaching it. I think that is a statement which will be received with satisfaction by the House. In order to meet these needs it is evident that heavy expenditure is necessary. My hon. friend behind me stated that this expenditure ought to be met, as it was formerly, by an annual Vote, and not by a Bill.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN.
If my hon. friend objects to any particular item of expenditure 737 charged on this Loan Bill I shall be happy to deal with that objection in Committee, but we are now dealing with the broad question of expenditure, and I desire to bring before the House the manner in which the principle of this Bill was first introduced. My hon. friend opposite, who introduced the first Loan Bill with the support of the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire, was really responsible for this principle, and it may be worth while to recall the fact that the principle upon which this Bill was supported was one, and one only. The right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire said that he considered the justification for a loan, and the true distinction between loans and Votes, was whether the expenditure was permanent or temporary in character. That is the principle involved—that where permanent expenditure is to be incurred it should be by loan, and where annual expenditure is incurred it should be by Vote. The right hon. Gentleman added that he had always held the doctrine "that you might equalise annual expenditure in respect of public buildings and sites by a well-regulated system of loans." That clearly lays down the principle of a Loan Bill as against an annual Vote. In the discussion which followed, my noble friend the present Secretary of State for India laid down three principles which should attach to a Loan Bill, but which did not attach to that particular Bill. One principle was that it should be clearly stated and specified what was the limit of expenditure on each item which Parliament was asked to sanction; the second was that any sum required should be voted by Parliament as the need arose; and the third was that the time within which the works brought before the House were to be completed should be stated on the original proposal being placed before the House. These three conditions have been fulfilled in the Bill now before the House. In the first instance these Bills were annual, but since 1897 they have been biennial. That is the general history of these Loans Bills. The financial history of these Bills is as follows. Under the Bill of 1895 the total estimated expenditure which the House was asked to sanction was eight and three-quarter millions 738 and £1,000,000 was asked to be voted on account. Of that sum, at the end of the year 25 per cent., or rather over a quarter of a million, still remained unspent. The really important question which is brought before the House to-day is the total estimated cost which it is asked to sanction, because when the House has given its sanction to the total estimated liability the work is put in hand, contracts are taken, and these contracts cannot afterwards be broken.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
My hon. friend says "Oh, yes"; but the Admiralty does not break contracts with the facility the hon. Member appears to advocate. Having taken a contract, we are pledged, in ordinary circumstances, to carry that contract through. But the House having pledged itself to a total estimated expenditure, it is more or less bound to vote the sums required as the expenditure is incurred. Therefore, what the House should turn its attention to is any increase in the total estimated expenditure which is now asked for, because, having once sanctioned it, the House has parted to a large extent with its power of control. In 1896 the total estimated cost of the works was increased from eight and three-quarter millions to fourteen millions, and two and three-quarter millions was voted on account. At the end of the year no less than two millions out of that two and three-quarter millions remained unspent. In 1897 the total estimated expenditure was seventeen millions, and another two and three-quarter millions was voted. So little of that sum was expended in the first year that it lasted for two years, and instead of the Bill being renewed in 1898 it was continued until 1899. In 1899 the Bill, which was brought in by the present Secretary to the Treasury, provided for a total estimated expenditure of twenty-three and a half millions, and about three millions was asked for on account, and I am glad to inform the House that out of that three millions only £335,000 remained unspent on 1st April last. Whereas on the first Bill 25 per cent. remained unspent, on the second Bill 75 per cent., and on the 739 third Bill 50 per cent.; on the last Bill only 10 per cent. remained unspent. It is all spent now, and we have no money left at all. By the present Bill we ask for a total estimated expenditure of twenty-seven and a half millions, an increase of £3,800,000, and we ask for £6,000,000 to be voted on account, of which £5,000,000 is practically expenditure to which the House is already committed on the total estimated liability already incurred. The remaining £1,000,000 is on account of expenditure on the new works which the House is now asked to authorise. From this statement it will be seen that the authority and supervision of Parliament is really very fully maintained. The hon. Gentleman behind me has suggested that Parliament has less control than it has under an annual Vote. I fail to follow that argument, because what authority has Parliament got? The original estimated cost of the work is stated, and no subsequent increase can be incurred without the authority of Parliament. No money can be spent until it has been authorised and voted. A statement is made on the introduction of every Loan Bill, and can also be made annually, as to the amount of money which remains unspent at the end of the period for which it was voted. The time for the completion of the works is stated, and we have to account to the House for any failure in that respect. In addition to that, I am now able, if desired in Committee, in regard to any one of these works, to state the estimated expenditure, not only for the two years which were covered by this Bill, but for either of the years, so the House can ascertain what is the annual as well as the biennial expenditure, so that there is no loss of control because the money is expended in two years instead of one. The charge on this Bill is a charge on the ordinary Works Vote, and when there is no Loans Bill, as will be the case next year, there will be a charge on the ordinary Works Vote, on which any question which hon. Members desire to raise can be raised. Therefore the House really has as full control in every particular, and rather more control, over the works executed under a Loan Bill as over works executed under an ordinary Vote.
740 Now, having stated to the House shortly the history of the Bill, I will address myself to the Bill itself. With regard to the Bill before the House, I think the House will have gathered from what I have already said that we have made more progress than has previously been the case. I do not take any particular credit to the present Board of Admiralty in that respect; all Boards have equally struggled to spend as much as possible of the money which the House has provided for this particular purpose. That was their duty; and I would prefer to tell the House that there had been over-expenditure rather than that there had been under-expenditure, because we wish to have these works completed and put at the service of the Navy as soon as possible. I am able to report generally that the progress has been good. The details of that progress are shown in the general statement issued by the First Lord of the Admiralty on 1st March last, and progress has continued in the same ratio ever since.
I now come to the particular items included in the Bill. The first item upon which any question arises is that of Gibraltar. That question has agitated the country a good deal in the last few months, and I may remind the House that a very full statement in regard to it, which I think was received with general satisfaction, was made by the First Lord of the Admiralty in another place. I do not wish to enter into this matter at great length, but I think that there are one or two considerations which have not been fully presented to the House. I would like to call attention, first of all, to the attitude taken up by my hon. friend behind me in 1895. My hon. friend then said a great deal of rubbish had been talked about the danger to which the dock at Gibraltar would be exposed in time of war, but, however open to attack in time of war, the dock would always serve its uses in time of peace. That is an excellent argument. The hon. Member also said it was unlikely we should ever be at war with Spain, but if we were at war with Spain he doubted whether Spain would be able to do damage to the dock at Gibraltar. He added that the danger to the dock in time of war had been enormously exaggerated. If this danger did exist, 741 he would rather have the dock with all its danger than have no dock at all. I merely refer to that, not for the purpose of showing that the hon. Member has no right to change his opinion, but in order to show that the Admiralty had the valuable support of my hon. friend in inaugurating this policy.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
My hon. friend draws a fine distinction, which I am unable to follow, between one dock and two or three docks. The needs of the Fleet have to be met, and an argument which applies to one dock would apply to two or three docks. The Committee on which my hon. friend served laid down the proposition that a dock with risk was better than no dock at all. I claim to be entitled to believe that that argument applies to the whole item, provided I can prove that the requirements of the Fleet are not for one dock but for at least three docks. The hon. Member, in his argument to the House, recommended two graving docks and a floating dock, and the Admiralty proposed three graving docks; so the only question between us was as between two graving docks and a floating dock and three graving docks. Any practical engineer who has studied the question will accept this proposition, that it is only wise and prudent to construct a floating dock when it is impossible to make a graving dock, because a graving dock is so greatly superior in all respects to a floating dock. That being so, we have these three docks, and we have the great advantage of having a graving dock instead of a floating dock. My hon. friend, as the right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean will remember, when the Bill was first introduced in 1895, and subsequently in 1897, first of all supported the dock, and, secondly, insisted on the necessity of increasing the accommodation.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
Yes, and the actual Amendment was moved by the present Minister of Agriculture.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
My hon. friend opposite, the late Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 742 then stated that, after the fullest consideration, his naval advisers had advised that the west side of the Rock was on the whole preferable to the east side. That question has again been raised by my hon. friend behind me, and has been very fully discussed. The Committee visited Gibraltar and issued an Interim Report to which my hon. friend assented. In that Interim Report there were two very important reservations, and any engineer would admit that two more important reservations could not be made. Those reservations were as to the cost of the proposed works on the east side of the Rock and as to the time in which the work could be carried out. No practical man would finally recommend the adoption of any proposal for a great engineering work until he knew the cost of the work and how long it would take to construct it.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
The words in the Report were—I enclose the replies to the questions which were referred to us, except in regard to the estimated additional cost involved and to the probable time required for the completion of the proposed works on the eastern side.The questions of cost and time were left open, and, therefore, the Report contained only partial recommendations. The Committee came home in order to obtain evidence on the questions of time and cost, and when they had obtained that evidence the draft of the final Report was drawn up. My hon. friend received a copy of that draft Report for consideration, and it was open to him to suggest alterations in it or to issue a Minority Report. Instead of considering the Report, he preferred, rather theatrically, to leave the Committee, and, like a certain marine animal which retreats in a cloud of ink, he covered his retreat by the suggestion that the Committee, at the dictation of the officials in the Admiralty, had consented to rewrite their Report.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
I have made a general statement, and that statement I 743 hope the House will accept. That being so. I really think the hon. Member is not entitled to great consideration on this question. He had had the fullest opportunity of laying his views before the Committee and of embodying them in the final Report. He had refused to do so, and the Admiralty had had to deal with the question on the Report of the remaining members of the Committee. In their Report the Committee estimated that this eastern harbour could be constructed for about £5,000,000, in a period of ten years.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
My hon. friend, who was much more sanguine, declared himself ready to construct this eastern harbour for £2,000,000. I do not think my hon. friend could do so. Moreover, my hon. friend did not state any period in which he would perform this engineering feat. Now we have gone closely into this matter, and I do not wish to traverse the opinion of the Committee, which was advised by a very eminent engineer, but I say we should be very guarded in accepting this Report as to time and cost, because on the eastern side the rocks are nearly perpendicular and exposed to a thousand miles of drift, and when there is an east wind the swell makes work impossible. A more inaccessible spot it would be difficult to find, and it is fair to assume that the works there would be more expensive and take a longer time to construct. The works at Dover, carried on under favourable conditions in the less exposed Channel, offer the means of comparison. The original estimate was that the works would be completed in 1900, and they are still very far from completion. On the eastern side of Gibraltar the conditions are infinitely more difficult. The length of the mole would be no less than 11,200 ft.; and, though the Committee estimate that it might be constructed in ten years for £5,000,000, I believe if those figures are doubled the estimate would approach nearer to what would prove to be the actual result. But the Fleet requires accommodation, not in ten or twenty years time, but now; and I think that 744 a project which requires twenty years for completion cannot be accepted as an alternative to the Admiralty scheme.
On the question of the future, on the question of additional harbour accommodation on the east side of Gibraltar, the fullest investigation is taking place. I do not wish to express any opinion, for a most careful survey has been ordered, and none of the works will be undertaken until we have the Report of that survey. After full consideration of the Report by the naval advisers of the Admiralty, the question will be finally decided. In the Bill it will be seen that there is an additional sum of £213,000 taken for Gibraltar. At Gibraltar there is great congestion of population, and it is impossible to find quarters for dockyard employees. It is therefore absolutely necessary, in order to obtain the requisite personnel to work the establishment being erected there, to provide quarters for the dock yard employees. To provide these quarters a sum approaching £100,000 will be required, and in addition there is the question of the water supply. The water supply is a most important matter at Gibraltar. It is proposed to construct a reservoir on the east side, with pumping machinery, and the water will be distributed by gravitation for dockyard use. Then there are extra coal sheds required on the new mole, and there will be further expenditure for new machinery. These services will make up the increase of £213,000.
Before leaving the question of Gibraltar, I may mention a circumstance which seems to indicate that the hon. Member for King's Lynn in his pamphlet entitled "Gibraltar: A National Danger," has not very carefully considered the position. There is a picture of Gibraltar taken from the Queen of Spain's Chair, facing the west side of the rock. It is possible to see high land on the coast of Africa. In the picture this is marked with a cross as Algeciras, on Spanish territory, and it is shown there as if it was a point from which Gibraltar might be attacked. But, as I say, that is the African coast.
In regard to the works at Hong Kong, I think the strong strategic reasons for keeping the dockyard on the island have been lost sight of. It was originally 745 proposed to transfer the dockyard to the mainland, Kaulung, when it was supposed that with the space available on the island it would be impossible to provide for the needs of the Fleet. That space was four and three quarter acres, but I am glad to say that by concessions made by the War Office, and reclamations, the extent of the dockyard, when the present works are completed, will he not four and three quarter acres, but thirty-four and a half. Thus there will not only be space for all the works projected, but for the construction of an additional large dock if at a future time it should be required. On that ground we do not see the same necessity for considering the removal to the mainland. The removal has been pressed by the civilian and commercial community, but it appears that the use to which the space is desired to be put to is that of a promenade, and we cannot feel that the needs of the Navy should be subordinated to such a purpose. The Admiralty would be justified in taking up the position that, if the colony provided an equally good and convenient yard in all respects on the mainland, and provided at their own expense the defences to render it as secure as that on the island, the proposal might be considered. But I do not think they will consider it worth the while of the colony to do that; and, looking at all the conditions, the heavy expense of dredging the shallows off the mainland, the inefficient water supply, the possibility of a railway being made on the mainland, and rendering an attack on the yard more possible—taking all the facts into consideration, and after careful investigation, and seeing that work has been commenced, the contract let, and liabilities to the amount of £150,000 incurred, no sufficient reason is seen for transferring the yard to the mainland.
The next item is for deepening and improving harbour approaches; an increase is asked for on that item. Very heavy expenditure has been incurred, for reasons to which I referred in my preliminary remarks, in enlarging and deepening torpedo-safe harbours. At the main naval stations a very large proportion of the expenditure has been already incurred at Devonport and Portsmouth, 746 and it is now necessary to undertake large works at Chatham. With the increase of their size and draft ships are unable to go up to Chatham except on the highest tides, and so for many days in the year large vessels cannot approach that dockyard and take advantage of the great works there. These conditions are getting worse, the opposite bank of the river being eroded, and the mud is being deposited on the dockyard side. It is necessary to restore the balance by a large groyne. A Committee has sat on the question, and it has been decided to restore the river frontage to the condition of thirty years ago by constructing a groyne. That will be accompanied by a large scheme of dredging, which it is hoped will enable large ships to get up to Chatham at all times.
The next item is the Keyham extension. There the large sum of one million is asked for. That is not in any sense an increase in the cost of the works which the House has already approved. This sum of one million is for a new undertaking, which is an extension of the undertaking already authorised by the House. It may roughly be divided into two parts. The first part is the erection of all the necessary workshops and buildings which are accessories to the yard. They were not provided for in the first instance, because, owing to the great period of time which necessarily would elapse before the completion of that great engineering work, it was recognised that the size and fittings of all these accessories would better be determined when the works were in a more advanced state. The cost of these works is, roughly, half a million. Secondly, owing to the greatly increased length and size of the ships, the Admiralty have found it necessary to appoint a Berthing Committee, which has been seriously considering the question of berthing accommodation. It is found that the present berthing accommodation, if used to the full, is barely sufficient at present, and is rapidly becoming insufficient. In the execution of this great engineering work at Devonport it has become necessary to construct a great coffer dam, which embraced the foreshore for more than 1,800 feet beyond the limit of the present authorised works. It will 747 be possible by extending the quay within that coffer dam for another 1,800 feet to provide that length of deep water berth-age and quay room, and at the same time to give access to the great naval barracks which are being there erected. A very great saving, as the House can easily see, will be obtained by carrying out this work, while the present contract actually exists, rather than by allowing the present works to be completed and the coffer dam taken away, because it would then be necessary at no distant date to commence all over again, whereas the contractor now has all his plant on the spot, and we should be able to obtain a much more advantageous contract than at a future date. The berthing accommodation to be provided by this expenditure is absolutely necessary for the needs of the Fleet.
The next item in which there is an increase is that of magazines. No less than £170,000 of this increase is due to the necessity for constructing a large magazine inside the Bock at Gibraltar. I think my hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn will recognise with pleasure that we are in this way doing what we can to secure from any danger from fire all inflammable stores, and anything which can conveniently be put under cover. A Committee has also sat on the question of the provision of magazine accommodation, and various recommendations they have made have been adopted, so that very much larger reserves of ammunition will be kept than previously. That has entailed an enlargement of the scope of the existing magazine accommodation spread over the different stations. Entirely new magazines which are being constructed for the Chatham district, large works which are being undertaken at Priddy's Hard, Portsmouth, and Bull Point, Devonport, and a general increase in the reserve accommodation and works at Gibraltar account for an increase of £385,000.
I will now pass to the two new items the House is asked to sanction. The first of these is the sum of £1,000,000 in respect of the breakwater at Malta. That is a very urgent service. The present position is unsatisfactory from two main points of view—first, the harbour at Malta, in proportion to its area, has an extraordinary amount of 748 deep water anchorage, Fully one halt, I might say, of the available space where the ships and Fleet should anchor in perfect security is now rendered insecure and practically useless by the fact that the north-easterly wind blows straight into the harbour and raises such a heavy sea that only the inner berths are available for the secure berthing of ships. By a comparatively small expenditure to that which we spend on the general needs of the Navy we shall be able to obtain the use of all the large extent of sheltered water space which is not now available. There is also the self-evident proposition that the present open entrance to the harbour renders it particularly insecure against torpedo attacks, and the House will be aware that there are torpedo stations of other nations scattered in all directions over the Mediterranean. It is very desirable that the central harbour at Malta—the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet—should be protected against torpedo attack; and it is, therefore, proposed, on these two main grounds, to erect a great breakwater by means of a long arm starting from the St. Elmo point, which is the western entrance to the harbour, and a shorter arm starting from the eastern side. In addition to these great works it may be found necessary to erect subsidiary works to catch and break up any swell which might enter the harbour between the heads of the breakwater. I believe the Fleet and the nation will obtain full advantage from the expenditure of this money.
The last, and by no means the least important item is for the provision of coaling appliances for the Navy. The House will not think that this suggestion had been sprung upon them, for in the First Lord's statement on 1st March I find these words—It is proposed to include provision for necessary expenditure on improved coaling facilities at naval stations in the Naval Works Bill.I need hardly insist on the urgent necessity of improving our coaling appliances and facilities, in regard to which, despite the growth of the Navy and the new conditions forced upon us, I may confess there has been no considerable advance for the last twenty years. Naval officers are now of opinion that the next great naval war will be very largely a fight for 749 coal. If that is to be the case, surely it is right that this country, which has been provided by nature with the finest supply of steam coal which exists in any country in the world, should not be found to be less favourably situated than those countries which are not similarly blessed by nature. We have considered how we can best take advantage of the supplies which are available to us, and the problem divides itself naturally into two branches. There are the questions of the supply to home ports and the supply to foreign ports, and the considerations governing these two questions differ. It should be borne in mind that the problem of coal supply is greatly complicated by the question of storage. If a large quantity of coal could be put into a store and locked up till required in time of war, the problem would be comparatively simple; but coal when once removed from the pit deteriorates rapidly, and, owing to that deterioration, any coal which is stored must be turned over, even if under cover, at least once a year. Therefore it will be seen that an enormous additional expense is incurred in the handling of coal. A mercantile firm loading ships would save all that expense, because it would bring the coal direct from the collieries, put it into a barge or a coal depot, and ship it straight off with the vessel requiring it. But if a large reserve is kept at a naval station it must be constantly turned over, for which the necessary appliances must be provided. As regards home ports, this very large current expenditure may, however, to a great extent be avoided. We may look upon the great pits in South Wales as an available reserve store, and by providing direct rail accommodation to the main naval stations, and arranging with the railway companies that in time of war or preparation for war a service of trains should be rapidly run from the pits to the docks, it will be necessary to keep very much smaller stores, and a much less expenditure will be required than if the entire reserve considered necessary for war were kept at the different stations. This problem has been approached from that point of view, and in dealing with the works proposed at Portsmouth, Portland, Devon-port, and on the Medway, which are the great home ports under consideration 750 we are proposing railway access, stations wharves, coal depots, and appliances for tipping the coal on the trucks straight into the ships, a comparatively small amount of storage and sidings, so that on the first hint of any preparation for war a quantity of coal may be brought down from the pits and stored, which, if not required, can be used up afterwards. Thus the constant current expense of handling the coal into store and out of store will be avoided. When we come to foreign stations, no direct rail access from the pits is possible, and therefore it will be necessary to provide large storage accommodation. Fortunately the expense is somewhat reduced, because at foreign stations very much cheaper manual labour is available for handling coal. The three great foreign stations which are now proposed to be dealt with are Gibraltar, Malta, and Hong Kong, at each of which places a large expenditure is proposed in order to maintain the large storage necessary. I may mention that the annual consumption of coal in the Mediterranean Fleet is no less than 170,000 tons, and that, or a little more, is the amount we propose to keep stored at Malta. It is estimated that in war, if the Channel and Mediterranean Fleets were both engaged in operations, their coal consumption would be no less than 135,000 tons a month, and therefore it will be seen that that provision is by no means too great. As to Hong Kong, a very great difficulty arose on the outbreak of the recent trouble in China owing to there being an insufficient store of coal. It is proposed to erect coal appliances and a station on the mainland of Kau-lung in the situation suggested by the colony for the extension of the dockyard, and to provide for a storage of at least 100,000 tons in that situation.
I need not labour that point further than to say that what we are doing is that which other nations are also undertaking, and I think it will be interesting to the House to hear what is the view of the naval authorities of the United States on this question. In a report of the Bureau of Equipment of the United States Navy which was recently issued, it is stated that the only way in which the Government could be sure of a sufficiency of coal for its ships was for 751 the Government to have its own depots well stocked and furnished with all appliances necessary to transfer the coal to the ships, and that if anything was proved during the Spanish War it was that they could not rely on commercial firms for this service. In carrying out that policy the United States Government have at present actually found the money, and are erecting and equipping no fewer than seven coaling stations in the Pacific alone, the amount stored varying from 20,000 tons to 8,000 and 5,000 tons at the different stations. On the coasts of America itself they are equipping nineteen great coaling stations, and the amount stored at these stations is up to as much as 100,000 tons at one or two of them. It will therefore be seen that a practical people like the Americans have already realised and taken means to meet this necessity; and I do not think we can afford to be behind them in that particular. I regret that there is a necessity for coming to the House and asking for these large sums of money at a time of financial strain, but it is evident to everyone that, however necessary it may be to be economical, we cannot afford to starve the Navy. It must be seen that if these appliances are not provided the enormous expenditure which the country has incurred on ships and men will be of no effect. It would be literally a policy of sinking the ship for the want of a halfpennyworth of coal. Five millions out of the six millions for which the House is asked is expenditure to which the House is already committed, and the only new sum to be actually voted is a million; and when the House considers the sums already voted for the services of the Navy, and how necessary it is to get the full advantage of that expenditure by providing the necessary appliances in the way of coal, docks, harbours, barracks, or hospitals, it will see that, however reluctant it may be to increase expenditure at this moment, it is expenditure which is absolutely necessary, and which the House is justified in voting. I beg to move.
§ Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."752
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
We have listened with much interest to a very clear and, I think, candid statement from the hon. Member, but before I deal with any of the matters he has mentioned, I wish to call the attention of the House to the serious position in which it finds itself in regard to this Bill. This is a measure of great Imperial importance, of considerable financial complexity, and involving proposals of considerable magnitude. It calls on the House to sanction the continuance of naval works already begun to the extent of £23,000,000, and to sanction the beginning of new works, not to the extent of £1,000,000, as the hon. Member suggested, but, as I shall directly show, to the extent of £4,000,000. Further, of the old works the House is asked to continue, two, at least, have been challenged on grounds of great gravity. It is a Bill of this kind that the Government, in a session wherein they have had comparatively little to do, in a Parliament which has practically no mandate to do anything at all, ask the House to consider on the 14th August, on a Wednesday afternoon, three days before the prorogation. That is a course of procedure hardly consistent with the respect due from any Government to Parliament. It is the more extraordinary to me when I remember the action taken by the Government in respect to one of the predecessors of this Bill. In 1896 the Naval Works Bill was proposed early in the session, and, under the mistaken plea that it was essential that the measure should be passed before the 31st March, it was forced through the House by the closure, and in another place the Standing Orders were suspended in order that the Bill might be passed through all its stages in one day. My opinion is that this Bill must be lightened, and I shall show how before I sit down.
I will come now, Sir, to the financial provisions of the Bill. The hon. Member for King's Lynn fell into a blunder which I think ought to be acknowledged, because it has misled a great part of the newspaper press of the country. He added the amount called for by the Bill to the total amount of the cost previously authorised, and said that was the total. The mistake consisted 753 in treating as an addition to the sum previously sanctioned that which was only an instalment of that sum. The hon. Member opposite, the Civil Lord, spoke of a balance in hand of £335,000. This is a matter of considerable difficulty, and I confess I do not understand it. According to the Memorandum, the total estimated expenditure to the 31st March, 1903, is £13,521,000 net. That has been provided for to the extent there specified, leaving a balance to be raised of £6,218,618. The amount actually raised by this Bill is only £6,157,000, and the excess is said to represent the amount by which the surplus revenue of 1895–6 proved to be insufficient. I find that two items—the amount raised by terminable annuities in 1901–2, £273,382, and this balance of £61,618—together make the sum of £335,000. Another curious thing is that in the Schedule the estimated expenditure for the two years now in question is £6,492,000; the amount provided for by the Bill is £6,157,000, again leaving a balance of this identical sum of £335,000.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
But you have raised in this financial year only £273,382, which, deducted from the amount in hand, makes the balance of £61,618. As far as I can understand it, that has one meaning—namely, that of the £335,000 which you had, or say you had, at the beginning of the financial year this balance of £61,618 was needed to make up the amount that the surplus of 1895–6 was not sufficient to cover.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
There are two sides to the account: one is the raising of the money, and the other is the expenditure of the money. The statement on page 3 of the Memorandum describes the manner in which the money has been raised, and the statement in the Schedule describes the manner in which the money has been spent. The £335,000 is in each case the total. If the hon. Member follows the figures he will see that I have dealt with the matter in the proper manner.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
The total is £335,000, a part of which consists 754 of £61,618, which according to the Memorandum had to be applied to meet an insufficiency five years back, and therefore was not available as part of the expenditure of this financial year. I cannot make anything else out of the fact, and it seems to me that this £61,618, although the hon. Member says it is part of the balance they had in hand at the beginning of this year, was not spent on current works, but was required to meet an insufficient surplus of five years ago. Therefore, all they have spent on current works this year is £273,382. If that is so, it has a very important bearing on the control of this House over expenditure.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
The hon. Member is entirely confusing the questions of the raising and the spending of the money. A large amount may be raised at the end of one year to be spent in the next. He says that the sum of £273,382 was raise by terminable annuities in 1901–2, and therefore that was the sum spent. That is not so at all. The question of how the money is raised is not one upon which I can enter; that is a question for the Treasury. The question I have to look after is that of how the money is spent, and if the hon. Member looks at the Schedule he will see how the money has been spent. The question of raising the money is a totally different matter, and he has no right to make the deduction he has just done.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
I simply asked for information, and perhaps the representative of the Treasury will enlighten me. The inference I draw is that you have not had more to spend in this year than £273,382. At most you have only had £335,000. The original intention of the initiators of this policy was that these Bills should be annual Bills, so that the control of Parliament should be an annual control. That object was not secured by fixing a time limit; that was a blunder on the part of the Government of 1896, but there was a financial limit. Apparently the Admiralty had been continuing these works for four and a half months on an authorised expenditure of no more, at the outside, than £335,000. If the works had been going on at the rate they should have been, the Admiralty 755 ought to have spent a great deal more than that sum in the time. It is impossible to suppose that the works have slackened. The normal expenditure for four and a half months would be at least £1,000,000, and I believe that expenditure has been incurred. The difference between that £1,000,000 and the £335,000 is expenditure incurred without parliamentary sanction. That is a point which I hope will be answered before the debate closes. This is not the first time the Admiralty has incurred expenditure without parliamentary sanction, and such action means the complete withdrawal of the control of this House over these proposals.
I now come to the actual works, which are of two kinds—the old and the new. About the old works I have very little to say. The hon. Member for King's Lynn will doubtless make his own case against the Admiralty. We on this side have not interfered with that very curious story. We have not accepted the hon. Member's conclusions as true, but after listening to the conclusive reasoning of the Civil Lord to-day, I cannot understand why the First Lord of the Treasury in the debate on the Address bought off the opposition of the hon. Member by the promise of an inquiry. We were unwilling to have Gibraltar discussed in this House, and made no opposition to the proposed inquiry; but the Civil Lord to-day has given sufficient reasons, I think, why an inquiry need never have been held. The inquiry, however, took place, and I am bound to say it was conducted in a manner not fair to the hon. Member for King's Lynn. No sooner was his motion withdrawn than we were informed that there was neither Committee nor Commission, that there would be neither reference nor report, and that any recommendations the persons holding the inquiry might make would not be laid before this House. I say that was playing fast and loose with a great Imperial question.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I should like to say in my own defence that that announcement was made after I had accepted a seat on the Committee under entirely different conditions.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
I did not mean to imply anything to the contrary. 756 I was dealing entirely with the conduct of the Admiralty in relation to the House. I was under the same illusion myself. The Admiralty has been most unfortunate in its appointment of Committees, and especially in its calling for Interim Reports. There has been an attempt on the part of those who signed the second Report in this case to show that in a most material point there has been no alteration. In the Parliamentary Paper there is a summary of the two Reports, and the answer to Question No. 4, which is said to be contained in the Interim Report, is this—It is recommended that No. 2 Dock should be abandoned, and a larger dock established on the eastern side, but if serious delay is anticipated in constructing the eastern harbour and dock, it is suggested that No. 2 Dock should be completed as originally sanctioned, such completion not obviating the necessity for the eastern harbour and dock.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
It is set forth as the official summary of the answer in the Interim Report, and in the fourth column is the phrase "no alteration." The hon. Member for King's Lynn is quite right in saying that the second half of that sentence is not contained in the Interim Report at all. It is a modification of the Interim Report; in other words, it is an alteration which the hon. Member refused to sign. It is astonishing that that statement should be made, and that it should be further emphasised by the remark that there has been no alteration in that respect.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD FORSTER, Belfast, W.)
made a remark which was inaudible in the press gallery.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
Then I will not pursue that matter further. As to the survey to which the hon. Member has referred, I do not think it will have any important effect. With regard to Hong Kong, I understand that the reasons which formerly operated against Kau-lung have disappeared. Without challenging the hon. Member's argument with regard to the strategic question, I would ask whether the work at Hong Kong has so far advanced that 757 it cannot now be altered. At Gibraltar it is impossible, but I do not know whether there is anything to make it impossible to remove the establishment from Hong Kong to Kau-lung, in which case possibly there would be no need for a dock at all.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
I stated that we had incurred liabilities to the extent of £150,000, that the contract was let, and that the whole expenditure would be about £1,250,000.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
I have also been informed that it was possible to make a very advantageous bargain with the colony over the site on which the present establishment is built. If that is so, the matter might be worth considering. I now pass to the new works. The hon. Member stated that only £1,000,000 was asked for new works—
§ MR. PRETYMAN
What I said was that the sum asked to be voted for the next two years in respect of new works was £1,000,000.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
The Memorandum deals with two items which are said to be new works—the Malta breakwater, and the improved coaling facilities. The point I wish to make is that what are called "revised estimates" are really for new works not previously sanctioned by the House, so that the Memorandum at first sight conveys a misleading impression. I do not intend to discuss the new works at this stage, notwithstanding the detailed explanation given by the hon. Member. What I wish the House to bear in mind is that we are being asked at this period of the session to sanction new works of great importance to the extent of £4,000,000. These works cannot possibly be urgent, and urgency is the only plea on which they could be pressed at this time. If they had been urgent they would have been proposed earlier in the session, and by delaying the Bill until now the Government have put themselves out of court. If the House of Commons is to exercise any deliberate judgment on this question there must be full discussion not only of points connected 758 with old works, but also of these new works, ten or eleven in number. Is it reasonable to suppose that any such discussion can now take place? It is impossible that it should be, and it would be indecent to use the powers of the House to force a decision without such adequate discussion. I venture to think that a way out of the difficulty has been shown by my hon. friend the Member for West Islington, who has put the following motion on the Paper—That this House declines to sanction at this late period of the session new works of the magnitude and cost proposed under the Bill.Well, Sir, if my hon. friend proposes that Amendment, I shall be compelled to support him unless we get from the representative of the Admiralty an assurance that they will be willing to take this Bill as a mere continuation Bill dealing with the existing works, and that they will leave out the new items when we come to Committee, and will not ask the House to assent, at this stage of the session, to new works. If the Government does that, it will lighten the Bill and shorten the discussion, and the Government will get their Bill without any straining of the rights and privileges of this House, and there will be no difficulty in doing so, because they can bring in a new Bill for the new works next session. If they will not do that I shall feel, for the first time, driven into an attitude of opposition to a Bill the policy of which I had the honour of being the first to introduce into this House.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
The Amendment my hon. friend has alluded to, and which I now rise to move, has been carefully considered. I feel that it would be hopeless to ask the House to reject altogether the proposals involved in this Bill, for the simple reason that the Bill in many respects only carries on works that we have already sanctioned, and as we have sanctioned the Votes, it would be ridiculous to vote against the works being carried on. This Amendment, however, represents the minimum of my policy with regard to this Bill. I would like the House to realise that it is being drawn gradually on by eloquent statements like that of the hon. Gentleman 759 who introduced the Bill to adopt a policy far in advance of the policy which has been pursued by the House for many years. The old policy was to provide in the Estimates of the year for all works to be carried out in that year. These Bills are a succession of conspiracies against that policy, and the effect of them will be to destroy that policy unless the House objects. The hon. Gentleman, as all his predecessors have done in regard to these Bills, tried to justify the Loans Bills, but there is no justification for them. There have been occasional Loans Bills, but the best one which I can take as an illustration is that which was taken in 1890 for barracks. The proposal is that if there are permanent works to be done, a Vote may be taken for those works, but that does not render it necessary that a Bill should come every year. Take the Barrack Loan of 1890. In that case a large sum was taken to spend over a series of years. It has not been all spent yet. When the Naval Works Bill of 1895 was introduced, the country thought the loan was of a somewhat similar character, that is to say, that it was desired to take for the Navy a considerable amount of money for new works indispensable to the Fleet. It is stated to-day that that Bill was intended to be an annual one. But for what purpose? For the purpose of the House being able to look into the expenditure, and watch and criticise it; and that we might see how this large sum was spent; that it was spent properly, and generally that the House might keep its eye on the proceedings. That was the policy, and in that spirit I accept it, but the result has been that these annual Bills have been the excuse for a policy of the utmost extravagance. As the hon. Member said, the chief point now is as to the new works to be taken under the Bill. In my opinion sufficient explanation has not been given with regard to the million which is taken for new works under this Bill. I wish I could convey to the House the mischief of that million. The million which is asked for to-day may involve the House in an expenditure of £15,000,000.
§ MR. LOUGH
Then I challenge the hon. Member. Does not this Vote include new works at various coaling stations? How and where will you be able to draw the line? It is not a million that we are voting, but £3,800,000, and that is not the full sum for that elaborate policy of fitting up the coaling stations, and if that policy is to be adopted it is not even £3,800,000 that we are voting, it may be £10,000,000 or £15,000,000 on that point alone. That is a sufficient illustration of what we are doing, and a sufficient justification for the action taken up by my hon. friend with regard to this Bill. The objection I raise is that it is a policy of extravagance. The whole amount asked for on the Bill of 1895, of which this Bill we are told is a continuation, was £8,500,000; the next year it was £14,000,000; in 1897 it was £17,300,000; the next Bill asked for £23,636,000; and to-day we are asked for £27,500,000, so that in every case there have been large items of new expenditure, which in itself breeds further extravagance in future years. In 1895 there was a policy with regard to Gibraltar; in that year we had the large amount sanctioned for Gibraltar of £1,500,000; the amount to-day is roughly £5,000,000, and if I understand the hon. Gentleman rightly, he said those works would cost £10,000,000
§ MR. PRETYMAN
I said it had been estimated by the Committee to cost £5,000,000, and it might cost £10,000,000. I did not refer in any way to the existing items.
§ MR. LOUGH
My point is that the item since 1895 has grown from £1,000,000 to £5,000,000, and that if this policy is adopted we may ultimately have to expend £10,000,000. It is evident that the policy we are pursuing is one of great extravagance. We have greatly exceeded the ordinary Estimates, and these annual discussions upon these Bills have led us into spending a great deal more than we spent at first. It may be asked, "Must not you make your provision for your Navy and have your docks and ports in order?" Yes, but, Sir, we have a Vote for the special purpose, Vote 10. And at the very period when 761 we are making this large additional expenditure, Vote 10 has been doubled. In Vote 10 we find a growing amount for the purposes which you put in this Bill. The Bill is another Estimate; a bad example of the vicious principle we are gradually carrying into the finance of the country. My hon. friend said this was an opportune time to introduce such a principle as this. It is inopportune, because it is the end of the session. If the Government continue to introduce important Bills in the last week of the session the arrangements of all Members of Parliament will have to be altered, because this week is crowded with most important matters. But, apart from its being the last week in the session, this is a most inconvenient time to introduce an extravagant Bill of this class, because of the heavy financial obligations the country has had to deal with this year. We have had to deal with Estimates on the heaviest scale, the most gigantic the country has ever had to deal with, and now, after all the difficulties into which we have been plunged, the House is asked to spend £13,000,000 in two years, which means £6,500,000 additional Estimates during the year. I do not know whether the House realises the injury this is doing to the most important industries of this country. We have not got the money to spend in this way. A million and a quarter a week is being spent on the war. Does anybody realise what such extravagant proposals as are placed before the House to-day take out of the pockets of the people of this country? Such proposals were never laid before the House at a more inopportune time than the present.
The chief point of my Amendment is with regard to the new commitments. I anticipate the answer we shall get. We shall be told that we must go on not only with the old works, but the new commitments. There is not the slightest necessity. Look at the expenditure at Malta; that is, I think, under all the circumstances, one of the most astonishing proposals ever laid before the House. We are already spending a million and a quarter on dock expansion; let us finish that expenditure on the dock, and see how that looks before we spend this million on the breakwater. That is a most important thing to consider when we 762 remember the condition of affairs in Malta; at the present moment Malta is seething with discontent, brought to the front by over-taxation, and yet we proceed to spend two and a half millions on a harbour before their eves, but we cannot find time to alter the state of things under which they suffer. With regard to the great extension of works at Devonport, we are told that 1,800 feet of new quay is to be built, at the cost of a million.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
I said half a million; a million is to be spent on the works at Devonport, but only half a million of that is for the new quay.
§ MR. LOUGH
Why can we not leave them over for a little while? Is this the time, in the middle of August, at the close of a laborious session, when we should go searching about for places in which recklessly to spend a million of money as if it was of no consequence whatever? No case can be made out against our point that these new works should be left over. Let us look at the proposals when we meet next session, when we know the probable amount of the expenditure on the war, and when we should have time to examine the matters thoroughly. At Gibraltar, for instance, there has been a steady increase of expenditure. The hon. Member made a plausible case for the coaling stations, but it was also an appalling case. This expenditure will extend a great deal further than would appear from any one of the items at present. The hon. Member told us that railways would have to be laid down, new quays erected, and expenditure of the most extravagant character incurred. If we begin this sort of work in an empire so widespread as ours the expenditure will not end at £1,000,000 or any amount like it. Be content with what you have under Vote 10 and leave this great policy of new facilities and so on for six or twelve months. The basis of my argument is that we have reached a time when some economies must be effected. The whole tone of the hon. Member's speech was one of buoyancy. He spoke as on behalf of a country which did not care what it spent, and as though everything was going well. But everything is not 763 going well. National securities are seriously depressed, and there is considerable difficulty in raising the loans which the Government find necessary. It is absolutely necessary for some steps to be taken in the direction of economy. Our trade, the wages of workmen, and the volume of our exports are declining. Surely these are considerations which might make the House realise that it is not a moment to plunge into new extravagances. The example of America has been quoted. America is buying our railways, and has bought some of our steamship companies. They are making great profits in America, because they are attending to industrial pursuits and because they have given a blow to the bad spirit of Imperialism which exercised a great deal of influence a few years ago. Therefore, America can afford it, and she has got her war over. We cannot afford it, and we have not got our war over, and this is a most inopportune moment to plunge into outlay of this kind. The most important word on this matter that we have had was spoken by the Prime Minister recently. He said—Maxims of economy must be disturbed by those great storms which sweep across the political horizon.He was alluding to the war, but there has been no political or other storm in connection with the question we are now considering. It was in a time of absolute peace that this policy of extravagance was started, and it has been carried on ever since. There was no storm; there was nothing but bad judgment on the part of the Admiralty. The Prime Minister went on to say—The feeling of the public was in favour of a pacific policy, but the state of opinion has passed away.I do not think it has. I think the feeling of this country is more strongly in favour of a pacific policy to-day than at any time during the last fifty years. The public does not see its way at the moment to withhold its support from the Government, because it thinks the interests of the country are at stake, but it is in favour of a pacific policy, and would bless the name of the statesman who would establish peace and promote a policy of economy.† See Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xcvii. page 1226.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member will not be in order in reading a speech delivered in the House of Lords, and answering it paragraph by paragraph.
§ MR. LOUGH
I was only going to say that the last words were—The tide has turned, and who are we that should atetmpt to stem the tide?I can find no tide in these matters. There are two or three Members below the gangway who are almost as responsible as the Government for this policy of extravagance. We find in this House men who have clamoured for greater outlay on every possible occasion; even this year, when we have Naval Estimates amounting to £30,000,000, there was one hon. Member opposite, and, I am sorry to say, one on this side, who asked for Supplementary Estimates. To-day we have them, for we are practically dealing with Supplementary Estimates amounting to £3,250,000, and I think there never was an occasion on which this House should receive those Supplementary Estimates with greater reluctance. I beg to move.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'this House declines to sanction at this late period of the session new works of the magnitude and cost proposed under the Bill.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ *SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
I must congratulate my hon. friend on having given the House a clear and lucid speech, fully explaining and completely justifying this Naval Works Bill. With regard to the action of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, I think the House and the country look upon that as a closed matter. There are one or two general observations, made by the mover of the Amendment, with which I entirely agree. It is most undesirable that Bills, whether for naval or military works, involving considerable expenditure, some of it new, should be brought forward so late in the session. The blame does not rest with the Admiralty 765 in this case, but with the arrangements necessarily made by the Cabinet. I am not saying that under the circumstances of the session it could have been avoided, but it certainly is undesirable. But the Amendment of the hon. Member for Islington is entirely wide of the mark. His speech was really a denunciation of any expenditure at all at the present time. When you are to do what is necessary for the defence of the Empire he does not say. His Amendment asks the House to refuse to sanction the new expenditure. The fact is that with the exception of the Malta breakwater and the coaling facilities there is no new expenditure at all, the remainder of the Bill being to enable the Admiralty to fulfil the obligation already put upon them by the House. The better course, therefore, for the hon. Member to have pursued would have been in Committee to move the omission of those two items. The hon. Member hopelessly confused coaling stations and coaling facilities. He spoke of the vast growth of expenditure for coaling stations. The present proposal has nothing at all to do with the growth of the cost of coaling stations. All that is proposed as a new work is to increase the facilities for putting on board ships coal at ports already in existence, and I cordially congratulate the Admiralty on having at last done that which was really essential and had been too long delayed. The great Napoleon said that an army marched on its belly, and it may certainly be said that a fleet moves on its coal, and the extreme necessity of facilitating the process of filling His Majesty's ships with coal is one to which too great importance cannot be attached.
With regard to the Malta breakwater everybody knows that the conditions produced by torpedo destroyers are such that you must give protection to your Fleet and rest to your men by using breakwaters and closing the harbours, so as to obviate the constant worry and risk arising from liability to damage from torpedo-destroyers. The entire speech of the hon. Member was really an argument in favour of stopping the whole proceedings, involving the postponement to an indefinite date or the abandonment of works now in progress, and that this House would never agree to. 766 After all, the total amount of expenditure to be incurred within the next three years for these two new works is only £550,000. The hon. Gentleman says we ought to stop this expenditure, because, although the United States can afford it, we cannot. That statement needs no comment from me. I have always advocated recognition of this fact, that if we compare the resources of the United States with the resources of the United Kingdom we are nearing the time when there may be much force in the argument of the hon. Member. That time is not yet, but it is coming. I cannot admit that whatever the United States can afford, or is likely to be able to afford, cannot be balanced, and more than balanced, by the resources of the British Empire. I will not go further than that. I wish to say a few words with reference to the policy connected with docks and barracks. I hope the Admiralty will be cautious in the future with regard to the multiplication of docks abroad. I think it is necessary that in this matter it should be distinctly clear what our policy is with regard to these docks. Of course, we all know they are to put ships into, to be repaired; but how much repair? My view is that with regard to the docks at such places as Malta and Gibraltar they might be used to clean a ship's bottom or to patch her up below the water-line or elsewhere, sufficiently to enable her to come home. I do not believe that you can, without great loss of time and money, go in for any considerable repairs at such docks. If there were an action in the Mediterranean, I do not believe you could contemplate restoring a ship damaged in action at these docks to any greater extent than to enable her to come home. And for this reason. There is the question of labour, the question of machinery and shops, and all the appliances necessary to restore a ship to really effective action to be considered. Therefore, I hope that that will be borne in mind by the Admiralty when they are considering any further extension of docks abroad. In Australia, where we could develop the natural resources of the hinterland, so that docks shall be self-supporting, and thereby obviate the necessity of dragging all kinds of material 767 across the sea for the repair of ships, I would be in favour of considerable dock facilities being provided. At present everything necessary for the repair of a ship has to be brought from the United Kingdom, and there are no self-sustaining places abroad. Therefore, I would ask the Admiralty to consider whether, in reference to this dock question, they may not possibly be inclined to go a little too far.
The other point to which I wish to refer is the question of naval barracks. I entirely agree with the necessity for naval barracks. Nothing in my experience or remembrance strikes me so much as the entire change of naval opinion with reference to this question. I remember, when I raised this question forty years ago, I was assailed on all sides. The Admiralty are wiser now, and have adopted a system of naval barracks at the ports; but that is not the point. Do not let us exaggerate the amount of accommodation necessary at these barracks. I think my hon. friend will find that in a great number of these naval barracks hardly anyone is in them at night. The practice is to deal with the men as if they were in a ship in harbour, and to give them liberty for the night. If we turn to the parent establishment at Whale Island, I think we will find that very few men remain in the bar-racks at night. I do not assert this as a fact because I have not been there at night, but I think it will be found to be accurate. If it is to be the rule that the men are to be treated in the barracks as if they were on ship in harbour, I think we ought to modify our expenditure in that direction. I trust it is sufficient for me to call attention to the fact, as an element of serious consideration. If the practice is as I have stated, it will not be necessary to provide accommodation for more than half the number of men that will occupy the barracks during the day. I trust my hon. friend will look into this matter. I again congratulate him on his clear statement, and I also congratulate the Admiralty on their two new works, which are most desirable and most necessary—I mean the million that is to be spent on the breakwater at Malta and the million that is to be spent in increasing the coaling facilities of the Navy.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
Every year the introduction of these Estimates makes the position of our country a graver and a sadder one. From the joint of view of the Empire they may contain a great deal that is necessary, bet the system under which they are introduced practically denies any advantage whatever to our country from His Majesty's Navy, though we are compelled to contribute to this enormous and bloated expenditure. I am sometimes appalled when I think what the future taxation of our country will be. In addition to that you have introduced a new system, which is wholly unjust, and which has been adopted for the purpose of promoting this annual bloated expenditure. I really do not know where parliamentarian economists or Irishmen will be if this system is allowed to continue. What makes the matter infinitely worse is that these Bills, which are now recognised very properly as the most important Bills of the session, are introduced in thin and jaded Houses, when the bulk of the Members are away; and worse still, these Bills do make charges, not by way of taxation, but by way of loan. That is a most insidious and unjust and indefensible method of raising money. Formerly a Member of Parliament had some security that when he saw the Estimates of the year he had before him, in black and white, some idea of the charges that were to be put upon the country. But now this system had grown up, which was initiated by a Liberal Government, under which we actually do not know where we stand. We have now a proposal before us involving twenty-seven millions, to be borrowed by way of loan. One would think that these loans were never to be paid back. Ministers say, "Oh, it is only a loan"; but who will have to repay them? We will have to repay our share. One of the most valuable Returns ever presented to Parliament was presented last year upon the motion of the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth. We hear a great deal of the loyalty of the Empire and the advantages to Ireland of its connection with the Empire. The Return of the hon. and gallant Baronet is a most pregnant Return. What support do the great self-governing colonies give to the maintenance of the Navy as compared 769 with Ireland? The Return issued on 6th December, 1900, showed that at the time when this Empire was supposed to be reeling under the shock of the South African War, when it was threatened with foreign menace, when we were told that the Empire was being run by Australian bushmen and scrub-whackers from New Zealand, we find our great self-governing colonies—each of them gold-producing—now being honoured by a visit from the future heir to the throne and his amiable consort—that these great self-governing colonies, which are the glory of the Empire and the brightest diadems in the Crown, only make a contribution of £124,000, while a million is demanded from unhappy Ireland. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, himself an Irish landlord, permits, without protest, this new system to be established, and does not even make the reasonable demand that if we have to pay this immense sum some proportion of it should be spent in our country.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB
I do not think this is the time or place or occasion for doing so; but I have taken every possible opportunity of expressing the strong feeling I entertain that the colonies should contribute to the expense of the Navy.
§ *MR. T. M. HEALY
There never is a proper opportunity for an Irish Conservative to say a word for his country. When an Irish Conservative is supposed to say a word in regard to the naval expenditure of the country it is at election times, when there is a contest going on in the city of Derry or Belfast. When the hon. Member for West Belfast was brought into the Admiralty we were all given to understand by reading the loyalist papers in Belfast and in Derry that a new era of naval expenditure and of naval dockyard extension was going to open in our country. I forget the name of the distinguished loyalist, the son of an Irish peer, who went down to Derry on the occasion of a vacancy in that city two years ago, and promised in solemn terms that if he were returned for the city dockyards and shipbuilding yards, equal to those at Portsmouth or elsewhere in the south of England, 770 would be established in the city of Derry That Conservative son of a peer was returned—the first time a Conservative had been elected for Derry for many years—but there were no dockyards and no shipbuilding yards. The hon. Member for West Belfast has got his place in the Ministry, and we look at the barren total of expenditure in Belfast which has been the result of the hon. Gentleman's admission to the Ministry, or in the city of Derry by the adoption by the city of Derry of a Conservative Member. The mere result that we have got for these great changes in the political situation in Ireland is £450 for a zymotic hospital at Highbowline! The great naval policy of His Majesty's Government for the benefit of Ireland is that some poor seamen, I suppose, will get a little extra gruel or broth at Highbowline. When you compare the expenditure in this country and what we hear at other times of the great strategic value of Ireland to England and its enormous importance, the thing is a farce. According to the Prime Minister we must not allow a naval plant to be set up in Ireland from the fear that some foreign ship would anchor in the neighbourhood of Ireland. Why, one British ship in the harbour of Dublin or the harbour of Galway could, with the enormous range of modern guns, practically sweep the country from end to end. I want to know, if Ireland is of so much importance to England for strategic purposes, how this shower of gold is to be poured from the purse of the Exchequer on Hong Kong, Wei-hai-wei, Honolulu, and Simonstown (two and a half millions are to be spent on the latter alone), on Villette, etc., while the one place which gets no benefit is this little island of Ireland, which is so large a contributor to the British Exchequer. Of course it would be the same if I were discussing the Military Works Bill, although I admit that, on account of the military system, there may be shown some little military expenditure in Ireland. But as to the naval expenditure year after year, which we are asked to contemplate and to contribute to, our country gets practically in return as much as would run the establishment of an ordinary merchant in the City of London. The men who 771 make these projects and make up these estimates live in London and think of their own country. I am not blaming them, but attacking the system. They are anxious that the wealth derived from the three kingdoms should go for the benefit of England alone. There is the case of Gibraltar. The hon. Member for King's Lynn says that you have built a dock or a harbour at the wrong side. He is an Englishman. You are Englishmen. What security have we that our money is going on the wrong or the right side? We have to stand by and see our money taken from our depleted country, while we know that not one fraction of benefit is derived by us from this method of taxation. Then there is "Gibraltar Commercial Mole, £669,000." Why, if we ask for a boat-slip at Tramore, or that a harbour should be dredged out, or that a pier should be erected at Ballycotton we are refused it, while this sum of £669,000 is to be spent on a commercial mole at Gibraltar.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
If the hon. and learned Gentleman looks at the schedule he will see that the colony pays for that itself.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
But why should we provide three-sevenths of the cost of this commercial mole at Gibraltar? These people are largely Spaniards, and with all my love for Spain I decline to contribute the money of Ireland, which we need so much ourselves, for the benefit of Spaniards. We want to dredge our harbours before making harbours and moles for the people of Gibraltar. The fact is there is not in the Ministry one man who ever looks on Ireland from the point of view of a shepherd, who pretends to take an interest in Ireland. Their hands are too full of all kinds of petty details to enable them to traverse the country with the eye of a friend, or of a father of his country, and to provide for her interests. There is no one charged with that mission in the country, 772 while His Majesty's magnificent Civil Service have their eyes and ears open in every portion of the world except on that impoverished portion of the Empire from which you draw so large a tribute in the way of expenditure. If this had been an isolated Bill I would not have opposed it, and I could quite understand that an expenditure of ten, fifteen, or twenty millions might be necessary on a sudden emergency when the Empire has to he protected and cared for. But what do we find? We find that this is not the mushroom of a single session, but has become a method, a portion of the parliamentary constitution, and that year after year, in response to the clamour of—I do not want to say anything disrespectful to the Navy League, because I do not know any of the gentlemen on it—but in response to the clamour of the particular Services—even if you know that you are getting value for your money, which I doubt—these bloated Estimates are continued. There is a very significant note by the Minister for Agriculture showing how the expenditure is controlled. The right hon. Gentleman, when he was at the Treasury, had to address a remonstrance to the Navy Department because they had made an error of a quarter of a million in an Estimate, and had not the decency to communicate to the Treasury that they were making an additional demand on the Treasury for that amount.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I remind the hon. Member that the Naval Works Bill is under discussion, and that debate on the control of the Treasury over the Navy is not pertinent to the subject before the House.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I do not wish to pursue the subject. My point is that you have established a system which is growing beyond the control of Parliament, and that, in my judgment, it is a vicious system. You have begun a system of compartment Estimates which should be presented in the Supplemental and Annual Estimates of the year. Knowing the importance of the Navy to England, I can well understand that the naval experts—who appear to me to be like the daughter of the horse-leech, always asking for more—press their views 773 on the Government, and that the Govern-men are reluctant to resist their constantly growing demands for increased expenditure. But I would ask this, who was it set this policy going; who has turned European seas into practically a lake for naval manœuvres? It is the policy of England which has done it. It is you who have driven Russia, France, and Germany and all the maritime Powers of the world to enlarge and increase their armaments; and with all your increased armaments you have not yet made up your mind as to whom you are going to fight. This is a sad thing to the representatives of a poor country like Ireland. Year after year you expend tens of thousands of pounds on your armaments, and some new invention comes along which renders the whole expenditure waste and alters the whole system of defence. That is what we hear from day to day in regard to the French submarines—if you are to believe half the stories you hear. Opposing as I do the entire system, doubtful as I am of the entire policy, I do say that the country from which you draw a large portion of your annual expenditure is entitled to something like decent and fair consideration when this expenditure has to be made. We have got none of it. In passing this Bill we see millions dangled before our eyes for the benefit of Hong Kong, Honolulu, Wei-hai-wei, Gibraltar, Malta, and Simons Town, and we demand that we should get a portion as our share.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I think the ground on which this Amendment stands is not a good ground. If it be necessary to have this expenditure for the purposes of national defence—it is true that it has been introduced late, very late, and it would have been very much better to have introduced it earlier—but if this expenditure is required, any time is good enough for it. My objection to the Bill is based on very different lines. It is, first of all, that this Bill is an elaboration and exaggeration of an entirely new policy entered upon without adequate inquiry as to its effects; and, secondly, that the Bill represents an extremely unfortunate method of asking for money from the House. The proper method is an annual Vote. 774 The great objection to this method which has been adopted was frankly stated by the hon. and gallant Member who introduced the Bill, who said that when once the House has agreed to a Bill like this, which sanctions an expenditure of £27,500,000, the House has parted with its control over the expenditure of the money, and that, having sanctioned it, it would be absurd not to provide it. The hon. and gallant Member justifies the Bill by saying that for many years the Government have not taken sufficient sums for Votes in Supply for these works. That is what I complain of. My point is that if you want money for works you should take it by Votes. I do not say that no Bill of this kind should ever be introduced. It, should, however, be a very occasional Bill. But this Bill is a repeated Bill, first annually, and then biennially. My grave objection to this enormous expenditure is that there has been nothing like an inquiry into the policy that underlies it. In 1860, when it was proposed to fortify the dockyards, Lord Palmerston appointed a strong Committee, which held an investigation, made inquiries, and presented a Report. Only twelve millions was then involved, but the Bill before the House now involves an expenditure of £27,500,000, and it is becoming more. With no inquiry as in 1860, I can feel no confidence in the Admiralty sufficient to justify me or the House in leaving it alone with the vicious Works Department, which overshadows the whole of the rest of the Admiralty. Every year blunders and mistakes have been committed by them. There was the Alderney breakwater, which had afterwards to be blown up, and the remains were washed away by the sea. There was the Ordnance Department; there were the Spithead forts, which were not a success. There is scarcely a department with which we had spent money on works of this kind with which gigantic mistakes have not been committed. The principle underlying the policy of this Bill is that we are beginning to believe in bricks and mortar more than in ships and men. It used to be said that—Britannia needs no bulwarks,No towers along the steep.Her march is on the ocean wave.Her home is on the deep,775 But apparently her home is now either in barracks or in a battleship tied up to a wall of concrete blocks. As to the bulwarks, we want six millions for towers over sea. The bottom of the whole of his new brick-and-mortar policy was the torpedo panic. No doubt the torpedo is a horrible invention, and it has been increased in efficiency and its range has been increased from 400 to 3,000 yards. The Admiralty, however, are not adopting the right method of protecting His Majesty's ships from torpedoes. What torpedo-boats can do other torpedo-boats can reply to. The proper defence against the torpedo is to be at sea and going at a good speed. So if ships are in harbour they should be protected by a stream of torpedo-destroyers. There is nothing so demoralising to ships and crews as keeping them in a safe harbour. Lord St. Vincent once said that "lying at anchor in the Tagus would make cowards of us all." Are the Admiralty sure that keeping battleships in harbour will not make cowards of their crews? The qualities of the British sailor and officer are such that they would be inclined to desert closed harbours and get to sea, which I believe to be their true defence.
In my belief enormous mistakes have been made already in regard to this policy, but in no place have the mistakes of the Admiralty been so great as at Gibraltar. In 1895 it was proposed to make a single dock to extend the existing mole, and to construct a detached mole and a commercial mole at Gibraltar. The total cost of the scheme was to be £1,500,000. The hon. and gallant Gentleman quoted my opinion, which I held then, as I do now, that under the circumstances it was better to have a dock with risks than no dock at all. But the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not quote me fully. When Mr. (now Viscount) Goschen proposed that instead of one dock there should be three, with a large enclosed area, and raised the expenditure from £1,500,000 to £1,500,000, I denounced it as a waste of public money, and I so denounce it now. Even the 1895 scheme was one which at the time I should have felt hesitation in agreeing to had I known then all that I know now. The House will excuse me if I dwell for a moment on the real nature of the 776 problem connected with the works at Gibraltar. The place is an enormously important strategic station for our Fleet. I do not believe that Wei-hai-wei and Bombay are important strategic stations. I believe Ceylon, Singapore, Malta, and Gibraltar are. The strategic importance of Gibraltar absolutely cannot be exaggerated. The whole Mediterranean holds to it; in some respects, the Channel itself. Then let us consider the situation stated, not by myself, but by every expert. It is that unless we are at peace with France and Spain our works on the western side of Gibraltar are absolutely untenable; while on the eastern side we have an opportunity of making works which are not, theoretically, exempt from being fired at, but which, practically, are so safe that we are told by one of the greatest gunnery experts that not one shot in a thousand would hit works there. By creating on the western side of Gibraltar and adding to it these vulnerable works—docks, storehouses, and workshops—Gibraltar has been made a source, not of strength, but of weakness. It has been admitted that if the western side is to be defended, it must be byan army of 30,000 or 40,000 men sent out from England to occupy the Spanish shores whence it would be attacked. What does that mean? That Gibraltar is no longer capable of protecting itself independently of any army, and that it can only defend itself under three conditions—that France is friendly to us, also Spain, and that we must have an army of 30,000 or 40,000 men. It is quite true that there is a chain of fortresses along the northern frontier to protect it from an attack by France; but in the present temper of Spain, made worse as it has been by things that have been said and done in this country that had better have been avoided—not by me, for, on the contrary, in my small way I have done what I could to remove an evil impression—in the present temper of Spain and the dislike of England that exists among all the Latin races, friendly action could not be relied upon. It is quite certain—it was avowed to me by a Spaniard of some consideration—that Spain would not resist France taking possession of the Spanish railways and running down their troops to attack 777 Gibraltar from the land side. This weakness at Gibraltar is a weakness which tells even more in time of peace than in time of war, because in time of peace plans and bargains are being made against us; and when any foreign country or combination of foreign countries comes to the consideration of this weak spot at Gibraltar with this enormous portion of toasted cheese outside the rat trap for every rat to nibble at—that will tell against us. It becomes an element in the calculation against us instead of for us. My hon. and gallant friend drew a picture of the levanter on the east side of the Rock, and gave that as a reason why the works should not be constructed there; but will he be prepared to learn that Admiral Rawson has testified that the levanter is worse on the west than on the east side, That evidence was confirmed by other authorities, and local knowledge shows that neither wind nor sea comes home on the east side, except upon the flat at Europa Point. The wind breaks against the high rocks and forms a cushion, but never forms a sea. Another delusion that the water is too deep for works has been dispelled. The Committee estimated the cost at £4,000,000, and I believe it would be much less; and an experienced contractor told me that he would undertake to make the harbour on the east side for two millions. Certainly I do not think my hon. and gallant friend is justified in doubling the estimate of the expert Committee. The expert Committee said that it would cost £4,000,000; my hon. and gallant friend said it would cost £10,000,000; the expert Committee said it could be made in ten years, he said that it would take twenty years. My complaint is that the Government have known the facts for years, but never would accept them. I have not discovered the facts contained in his statement; they have been before the Government in the most formal and authoritative manner for years. In 1894 Colonel Buckle, R.E., in a report to the Governor of Gibraltar said—With an enemy on the hills to the northwest of Gibraltar the western bay and face of Gibraltar—and that constitutes the whole town, anchorage, and dockyard—would be untenable. It is absolutely necessary to make a harbour on the eastern side. It should be done quickly if England is to have a safe naval base in the vicinity.778 Then on 1st May, 1900, General Sir J. Ardagh wrote that—the change caused by the increased range of artillery has not yet been realised or provided against. The whole of the Rock, except the Mediterranean fide, is within range of attack by land.On 28th December, 1900, Sir R. Bid-dulph, Governor of Gibraltar, wrote—The danger to which the west front, harbour, and dockyard are exposed is inadequately provided for.On 4th February, 1901, Major-General Slade, Commander of the Artillery at Gibraltar, and Colonel J. M. Lewis said—that the west side was a tempting objective for an enemy's attack.These are the foremost military authorities. Then it was said by them that in order to hold Gibraltar under present conditions there was only one possible means, and that was to land a separate army of all arms from England to hold the shores from Tarifa to the East Beach—a country 600 square miles in extent. "If, under present conditions, you do not hold the camps you cannot hold Gibraltar." That Report was made on the 4th of February, 1901, and confirmed the same month by General Sir George White, who said that the fire from an enemy's guns would be paralysing; but he dwelt even more strongly on the difficulty, if not impossibility, of dismounting the enemy's guns on shore.
I think I have made out my case—not on my own authority, but from official reports—that the western side of Gibraltar is untenable. My hon. and gallant friend criticised the photograph contained in my pamphlet, but I think he has confused the localities somewhat. The positions are correctly marked, the end of the dock being under Monkey's Cave. There is a consensus of expert opinion to justify my assertion that the western side of Gibraltar is untenable, and much more evidence would be found in the pigeon-holes of the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Foreign Office. A memorandum given to me showed the reasons that had influenced the Admiralty in favour of the western side. It was desired to have a harbour closed against torpedo attack. That I do not think a proper defence; but, whether it is so or not, that 779 closed harbour exists, and I do not propose to interfere with it, and that reason may be dismissed. Then it was said the east side did not offer immunity from artillery fire; but expert opinion was that not one shell in a thousand would probably reach the works, while the Committee reported that the danger on the west was fourteen times as great. Of course it was from the land that the danger of attack arose, and the Admiralty reasons for thinking the works safer and better placed on the west seem to me altogether inadequate. I have quoted authorities, and these are confirmed by the unanimous Report of the Gibraltar Committee after the fullest inquiry and utmost efforts to obtain full acquaintance with the whole problem. The Committee reported unanimously that No. 2 Dock on the western side should be abandoned, that a third of the workshops should be abandoned, and that all the storehouses on the western side should be abandoned. It also recommended that a harbour with a dock should be built on the eastern side. As to the building of that harbour, we said it was imperative and absolutely necessary, and very strong language was used in regard to it in the unanimous Report. Then there came the intermediate proposal to which I refused to agree, but the final and non-unanimous was practically the same as the original Report. It also recommended that No. 2 Dock should be abandoned, with the proviso, amounting to nothing, that if any very serious delay was likely to occur before the completion of the harbour and dock on the eastern side No. 2 dock should be continued. It also recommended that one-third of the workshops and also the storehouses should be abandoned. It recommended the harbour on the eastern side, called it a necessity, and said it was of the utmost importance. Therefore, practically, the unanimous interim and non-unanimous final Reports recommended broadly the same thing. Every Report known to me, and I think all are known—unless perhaps there be Reports at the Foreign Office, of which I have a shrewd suspicion—every Report and every authority is agreed as to the danger of the western side of Gibraltar, and the absolute necessity of building a harbour on the 780 eastern side. In the face of all this what did the Government do? On 27th June last they announced that they were going to continue and complete the bulk of the work contemplated on the western side of the Rock, including No. 2 Dock, and that, as to the eastern side, they were about to institute careful surveys, and would then consider whether they would spend money on it or on some other service. They have gone even further now, for they are going now to increase the expenditure on the dangerous western side. There is a considerable sum down for work on the western side, thereby increasing its danger and accessibility.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
A large part of the expenditure has reference to the suggestion of the hon. Member and others as to the eastern side. The reservoir is to be on the eastern side, and the quarters for the dockyard staff are to be built on the north face of the Rock.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Has not the hon. and gallant Gentleman absolutely given away his case? He is putting the reservoir on the eastern side, where it would be safe—that is, where the dock and harbour should be—and he is going to put the magazines inside the Rock. Pro tanto the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman is an admission that the Report and authorities I have cited to the effect that the western side is the dangerous side are accurate, because he has not put the water or the magazines there. On the 27th June the First Lord of the Admiralty told us that he had received the Report of this Gibraltar Commission. The House has seen a portion of that Report, it has seen an eviscerated edition of it, but the House has not seen—and I do not say it was possible that it should see—the very grave and serious reasons which actuated the Commission in making their Report. But the Government has seen those reasons. The First Lord knew them, yet what happened? The First Lord wont down to the House of Lords and 781 told the House of Lords, forsooth, that he had decided against this Commission, composed of the best soldier, the best sailor, the best engineer, and the worst Member of Parliament. On what sort of evidence was that decision based? First of all, that he was not quite sure what the eastern harbour would cost, and, secondly, that when he went to Gibraltar he had the advantage of meeting Mr. Stevens, the master attendant, who told him that he disapproved of the whole scheme. Mr. Stevens is one of the most able and excellent men of his class. He is the pilot who takes the vessels in and out of the mole; but he has never had it as his business to deal with politics or strategy; nor did he have before him any of the information put before the Commission. It is little less than ridiculous, therefore, for the First Lord of the Admiralty to make Mr. Stevens a court of appeal against a Commission composed of the members I have mentioned.
Now, I frankly confess that I have arrived at the conviction that the Government always meant, whatever the Report of the Commission might be, to refuse to take any action—that they always meant to take precisely the course they have taken—to go on with the western works and to consider sine die about the eastern works. That opinion has grown on me. From the very first I observed that the First Lord absolutely refused to suspend any works on the western side. What he said was, "I will consider whether it is a blunder to make the works on the western side; but meantime I shall go on with them. If it is not a blunder it will be all right." There is another point I wish to state, and that is that from the first to the last of this whole Gibraltar business—I am only saying now behind the First Lord's back what I have told him to his face—I have not been treated with that candour and good faith which I had a right to expect. The House shall judge. The House will remember my motion of the 25th of February, which I subsequently withdrew on the promise of the right hon. Gentleman. A few days before that motion came on I was privately approached, and asked whether 782 if an inquiry were granted I would join it myself. I naturally wrote to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and said that before consenting to join the inquiry I should like to know what sort of an inquiry it would be. The answer was—and I have it in his own handwriting—that it would be a Committee of three, or if I joined it of four, that the reference of the Committee was still to draw, and that the Committee would report to the Admiralty, who would retain the right to publish the Report or not. Observe there was to be a reference, there was to be a Committee, and there was to be a Report. On that letter, I withdrew my motion and agreed to join the Committee, and I felt very grateful to the Government. Then the whole thing suddenly changed. What was my amazement, three days after I withdrew my motion, when the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House got up in this House and said that there was neither to be a Commission nor a Committee, that there was to be no reference and no Report. The House will understand that I then began to contract fears as to the result of the whole thing. I addressed another letter to the First Lord of the Admiralty pointing out the extreme danger of so amorphous a body not arriving at any settled conclusions, and of not being able to enforce them. I said that in this new state of things I must reserve my right at a given moment to make a full and ample statement to the House of Commons. That statement I am now making. Again, when the Committee returned to London a strange thing happened. On the 13th June last I said "The Committee came possibly under official influence." That was not correct. I now say it came certainly and undoubtedly not only under official influence, but under official orders. I say that distinctly, and I will tell the House what I mean. At our meeting on the 27th of April in London, it was decided that we should call certain engineers and contractors to give evidence with reference to contracts. Admiral Rawson, although it was not a Committee and had no chairman, acted as a sort of leader, and his secretary did all the writing. When we met on May 2nd he informed 783 the Committee that he had seen the First Lord of the Admiralty, that the First Lord held that the question of contracts was not before us, and that consequently we were not to call engineers or contractors as witnesses. I call that exercising official influence, and interfering with the action of the Commission in its own way of doing its own work. We had arranged to call certain witnesses, but "No," says the First Lord, "you are not to call them." The First Lord is, in an Admiral's opinion, above and beyond this world, and Admiral Rawson had no choice but to obey. But that is not all. On 3rd May we debated the question of storehouses, and a difference of recollection afterwards arose between Admiral Rawson and myself as to what had occurred, and I thereupon appealed to the shorthand writer's notes. Admiral Rawson said he should like to give me the shorthand writer's notes, but he could not give them without the consent of the First Lord of the Admiralty. The First Lord refused his consent—that I call official interference—and to this day I am still refused the shorthand notes of my own proceedings. Consequently I am entirely debarred from ascertaining whether Admiral Rawson or myself was right in our recollection, as that could only be verified by these notes. When it came to a question of verification I had undoubtedly a right to the record of the proceedings in which I had taken a part.
Now I come to the draft Report. My hon. and gallant friend spoke of my rejection of that Report as if it were an act of temper on my part. No, Sir, it was an act of policy. The original Report was to abandon No. 2 Dock, to abandon a third of the workshops, and all the storehouses on the western side, and to build a harbour and dock on the eastern side. The draft Report submitted to me was, "Do not abandon No. 2 Dock; go on and complete it; partly continue the storehouses, and abandon a third of the workshops. The essential difference was this: that whereas in the unanimous Report it was recommended that No. 2 Dock should be abandoned, the draft Report recommended that it should be completed. I have always held and have said in this House that the great mistake in connection with these 784 Gibraltar works was made by Lord Goschen. It was his exaggeration of the works and his refusal to listen to arguments against them that has brought about this great danger. After we had returned home it was proposed to me that I should sign this sentence: "Lord Goschen was quite right in increasing the works in 1896." I was not prepared to whitewash Lord Goschen. I think he was at the bottom of most of the mischief, and I hold that he made one of the greatest mistakes possible. My hon. and gallant friend says I should have remained on the Committee and signed a Minority Report. What would have happened? I said to myself, "I shall be outvoted, and if I make a Minority Report it will not naturally have the same importance as the Majority Report. But if I resign what will happen will be that the other members will probably reconsider this proposed draft Report, and, as sailors say, 'walk it back.'" That is exactly what happened. When I did resign, the Committee apparently reconsidered their Report, and so altered it back again as to make it very nearly approach what the original Report was.
I am drawing my incontinently long remarks to a close. I am extremely sorry to bring these personal matters forward. It has become rather a personal matter, but its importance does not lie in the personalities imported into it. It lies in this: that His Majesty's Government have never dealt with complete candour in this matter. In my belief, after the First Lord of the Admiralty had become convinced of the dangers of the western side and of the necessity of making a harbour on the eastern side—as I think he must have been by all the Reports I have quoted—he was weaned back and lost his faith, perhaps by the action of that overweening Works Department, and withdrew from the resolution he had made.
One word before I finish. I have said that the Committee came under official influence and orders. That I have proved. But let it not be supposed that I suggest that that official influence was used in order to induce the Committee to alter their Report. That I do not say. I have shown, I submit, that both official influence and official orders were used, but 785 I by no means say that they went so far as to induce the Commissioners to alter their Report, and, in fact, in the end they did not materially alter it. The final Report was very much the same as that agreed to at Gibraltar. Although, so far as I know, every one of the competent military authorities agree with me in the views I have taken about Gibraltar, I am perfectly well aware there are men opposed to me. I believe that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Forest of Dean is opposed to me, and I saw a statement a little time ago that Lord Charles Beresford did not agree with me, and Mr. Stevens is also opposed to me. I am sorry for that, but I still believe that I am right, and the reason I believe I am right is that the more I examine into this matter the more I see that only one opinion is entertained by competent military authorities regarding it. I can assure the House I have given much time and trouble to this matter, because I felt that it was of the greatest national importance. But if it were a matter of importance when I took it up, it is of far greater importance and significance now. My right hon. friend I am sure knows—if he does not know I will venture to assert it now in the face of the House—that not once or twice, but many times during the last two years certain Powers of Europe have come together with the suggestion of a combination against this country. I assert that. I know not what the course of events may be during the next few months, nor what further temptations or further opportunity may again tempt the same or other Powers to come together with the proposal of combined action against this country. Into their calculations Gibraltar must enter, and Gibraltar will enter into the survey of the question as an element, as I have said, not of strength, as it should, but of weakness against us. That would result in the creation, I fear, of serious times and possibly of serious danger to this country. If it were the case that Gibraltar was important when its defences were reported on in 1894 by Captain Buckle, in 1900 by Sir John Ardagh, in 1900 by Sir R. Biddulph, in 1891 by Major-General Slade, and again in 1901 by Sir George White—if it was important 786 to us then that we should lose no time in strengthening our position in Gibraltar, it is far more important now. I have conducted this business with many imperfections and shortcomings, but I have done my best. Again and again I have gone to the Government with reference to this very serious and important question before taking any steps in this House, and it was only because I had been unable to get any satisfaction from the Government that I was at last compelled to take public action. I feel, whatever this House may decide, that at least I have done my duty, and I only hope that the Government, before it is too late, will take such action as will restore Gibraltar to the position it ought to hold.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
At this time of the year we ought to try to be as short as we possibly can. The real question before the House this afternoon is what course we are to take on the Bill which has been presented to us by the Government. I shall have a word to say with regard to Gibraltar later on, but my reference will be very brief indeed, because I think the arguments put before us ought not to affect the vote we are to give on this Bill. I quite admit that if we want to carp and make small criticisms, even criticisms of some importance, but which do not go to the root of the matter, ground may be found for voting against the Second Reading. I admit that the Bill is very late. It ought to have been introduced earlier by the Government, and possibly the management of business may have been productive of its lateness. But I was sorry to hear my hon. friend the Member for Dundee mention that as a ground why the official Opposition is going to oppose the Bill to-day. It seems to me that is an entirely insufficient argument for voting against the Bill, and if lateness only can be alleged it is not proper to take that course.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
Malta is one of the largest items. Is my hon. friend prepared to take the responsibility 787 of voting against the work at Malta, and of saying that his opinion and the opinion of laymen like ourselves ought to prevail against the opinion of the advisers of the Admiralty? That seems to me to be a most dangerous argument. It strikes at the very root of Bills of this kind, and not only against the Bill, but against the Works Vote, The hon. Member for West Islington has well-known views on this subject, which we all respect. Some of us think that he is wrong, and that he has not got to the root of the matter. He said just now in moving his Amendment that each of these Bills was a conspiracy.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
Then it is a conspiracy of extravagance which the hon. Member for Dundee inaugurated, because the first of those Bills was his. The starting of the system was by the hon. Member, and so far as the question of amount is concerned, this Bill is less important than previous Bills, because the new items are smaller. I said there were many points which might be urged against the Bill, if we wished to take small points of criticism. We ought to have been told how much is to be spent in the present year under this Bill and the Military Works Bill. We have had no estimate of that. I agree with my hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth—these are not his words, but this is their effect—that there is in all these Bills certain evidence of the absence of a directing mind in the two great Departments responsible for these measures, and an absence of evidence that the Committee of Defence of the Cabinet has really considered these questions; but, unless we can adequately criticise the particular items from that point of view, I do not think that that is a sufficient reason for voting against the Bill. What are the criticisms in detail which have been directed against the items in this measure? The hon. Member for King's Lynn says that the money which is to be spent in Hong Kong ought to have been spent on the mainland. There, I thought, there was a certain amount of 788 doubt in the mind of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty. I confess I did not quite understand the grounds on which he said the whole reserve of coal was to be placed on the mainland. It seems to me that his argument that it would be difficult to defend a naval establishment on the mainland was a reason for not placing the reserve depot of coal there. I am told that there is to be combination on the Second Reading of this Bill by Members holding very different views. Some hon. Members intend to vote against the Second Reading, because the Bill is late, and some on grounds of economy, like the hon. Member for West Islington, and the Irish and Welsh Members, will vote against it because of their special views as to where the money ought to be spent. We all understand the views of the Irish Members, who object to all expenditure of this kind. But the views put forward by the hon. Member who spoke for them this afternoon, and the views put forward by Welsh and Scotch Members, are wholly untenable. It is impossible to contend that in the naval expenditure of this country we select Pembroke because it is in Wales, or some other particular station because it is in Ireland; and it is a curious fact that the point which the Welsh Members have in view is caused by the very fact that the Navy prefers Irish bases, and the Military Works Bill is largely concerned with the establishment of an important base in Ireland. That policy is continued in the present Bill, but these points ought not to weigh with the House of Commons. I would ask hon. Members why money is expended on Simon's Bay or at Hong Kong. It goes to Simon's Bay because it is our naval base at the Cape, and on the route to India and Australia in time of war. Money goes to Hong Kong because that is our base for fighting preparations in the Far East. All these local considerations are unworthy of the attention of the House. The hon. Member for King's Lynn delivered a very powerful speech. His speeches always are powerful, and make a very considerable impression on those who hear them. I am sure that some hon. Members will vote against this Bill because, basing themselves on the authority of my hon. friend, they will believe that, if a 789 mistake has been made in one particular case, they are right in assuming that this expenditure is of a wasteful kind. The hon. Member for King's Lynn seems to me to have changed his ground since he first took up the question of Gibraltar. I was very much interested in the question, because I got up a deputation to Lord Rosebery on the subject in 1893 or 1894, and I was one of those who very strongly pressed the creation of docks in Gibraltar at that time. At that time the hon. Member Was a strong partisan of the creation of one dock, and when I heard his right hon. friend and colleague the present President of the Board of Agriculture propose "docks" in the plural I confess I thought he was acting in collusion with the hon. Member, but it appears that I was wrong. At all events, the hon. Member was at that time a strong partisan of a dock at Gibraltar. When he wrote his pamphlet and made his first speech on the subject his allegation was that the circumstances had wholly changed. He alleges now that political circumstances had grown grave, but what he then alleged was that the purely military and technical circumstances had changed. That I was prepared to deny. His ground was that the Boer war had shown the invisibility and mobility of modern ordnance.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
It was not the military situation which had changed, but the knowledge of the capacity of modern ordnance.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
I am certain that the Admiralty were aware of all the facts from the first. They were discussed at the private deputation to Lord Rosebery, and at a conference which many Members of this House had with the advisers of the Government after the deputation. The only new point which is even alleged by any person who knows the details is that, although we knew that 9-inch guns would be invisible and mobile, and that the docks would be under easy fire from guns which possibly could not be easily located, we thought that such guns would require beds of concrete which would take six months to prepare. It is not so. That is the only new fact. There-fore 790 the House must discuss the question from the point of view that the military circumstances have not changed by reason of what has occurred in South Africa. As regards the political situation, it is a very difficult matter to discuss. The Government cannot discuss it, and even private Members are only able to discuss it with the greatest possible reserve. It is obvious that in the event of a general war Spain would think twice before joining our enemies. Spain would be likely not only to be neutral, but to defend her neutrality. She has nothing to gain by joining our enemies, because if she made Gibraltar untenable for us Spain would not be able to gain possession of it herself. There are other obvious considerations which would make it unlikely that Spain would join our enemies for the purpose of attacking Gibraltar, or open her country for the purpose of allowing the passage of an army hostile to us.
The hon. Member for West Islington objects to all this expenditure; he wants to reduce it. The hon. Member for King's Lynn wishes to greatly increase it. How much does the hon. Member for King's Lynn say could be saved on the west side of Gibraltar? As I understood him, his underlying impression is that very little money indeed would be saved on the western side, but enormous expenditure would be incurred on the eastern side. It is quite possible that the hon. Member or King's Lynn might tempt me to follow him in recommending expenditure on the eastern side, but he would not have the support of the hon. Member for West Islington, because he objects to all expenditure on new works, and I am inclined to agree with the Government that the expenditure on the eastern side would be very heavy indeed. I do not say that it should not be undertaken. I am very sensible of the importance of Gibraltar as a naval base. I believe it to be essential for the Mediterranean Fleet, but I cannot join with the hon. Member for King's Lynn in minimising the expenditure an establishment upon the east side would involve. He estimates it can be done for less than half the amount estimated by the responsible advisers of the Government. My hon. friend said that a mole could be 791 erected on the eastern side because the seas are not heavy on that side. I know something of the Mediterranean coast. A cushion of air does not prevent breakers striking on the shore and moving great rocks. I know the shore of Gibraltar, and I believe the expenditure on the eastern side would be very great. I can congratulate the hon. Member for West Islington in having obtained the hon. Member for King's Lynn as a recruit against this Bill. Those who will oppose the Bill will oppose it on varying grounds indeed, but I want to ask the House to consider that this is expenditure which the advisers of the Admiralty think necessary for the safety of the Fleet. All the opponents of the Bill, with the exception of the Irish Members, favour naval as contrasted with military expenditure. We are all agreed that the present expenditure of the country is enormously great, but the expenditure in this Bill is mainly for things which are necessary to a mobile fleet. It is not to be expended in mere "bricks and mortar," but in docks and coaling facilities which our Fleet absolutely needs. I confess I have not heard any argument advanced which should lead the House to disapprove of the Bill.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I cannot help thinking that, at all events as far as the advocacy of this Bill is concerned, the speech to which we have just listened and the very able statement of my hon. friend in introducing the Second Reading of the Bill, are really quite adequate. Although I feel a little tempted to take up some of the points in the debate, I can resist that temptation because it is most desirable that the House should, if possible, come to a decision on the Bill. I quite admit that the matter has derived unexpected importance since the Opposition have officially informed us that they are opposed to the new works in the Bill. [Opposition cries of "No!"] The representative of the Admiralty under the Liberal Government said so, and there was nothing in his speech to suggest that he had departed from the usual practice, which is that the ex-representative of a Department represents 792 the views of his colleagues on the subjects with which that Department is concerned. When I heard the hon. and learned Gentleman I supposed that he gave the opinions of those who sit with him on the bench. As long as it is clear that he did not I am content, and I hope that the House will now take a division.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said he agreed with the First Lord of the Treasury that, in view of other business, it was desirable to take a division on this Bill, and he therefore did not propose for a moment to stand between the House and the division; but he could not allow a division to be taken without entering a protest against the expenditure proposed in the Bill. He felt bound to protest against money being spent on Gibraltar when paltry sums were refused to Ireland for the purpose of enabling the people there to earn a livelihood. What took place on the previous day? He himself waited on the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, asking for a grant of a few thousand pounds for the improvement of the Liscannor Harbour with a view to permitting the development of an important industry—a large quarry which had been acquired by some Liverpool gentlemen, who declared that if the harbour were put into a condition to accommodate fair sized ships they could treble the output of the quarries and give three times as much employment as at present to the people in the locality. He was sympathetically listened to by the right hon. Gentleman, but the only consolation he got was the information that at present no public funds were available for the purpose, and that when some could be set free the claims of the harbour would be considered. Now he did appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury whether, if he were in a position like himself, he would not strongly protest against millions upon millions being voted for works at Gibraltar, while it was impossible to get only a few thousand pounds to meet the crying necessities of one of the poorest parts of Ireland. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would devote a few moments to considering the claims of Liscannor Harbour in the county of Clare.
§ Question put.794
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 178; Noes, 82. (Division List No 473.)795
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Grant, Corrie||Morris, Hn. Martin Henry F.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hain, Edward.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G. (Midd'x||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt William||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent Ashford||Penn, John|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Haslett, Sir James Homer||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Purvis, Robert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Randles, John S.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Heaton, John Henniker||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Brassey, Albert||Helme, Norval Watson||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh||Higginbottom, S. W.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bull, William James||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Holland, William Henry||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Rigg, Richard|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Horniman, Frederick John||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Rutherford, John|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor||Hoult, Joseph||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Seely, Capt, J. E. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Chapman, Edward||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lambton, Hon. Frederick W.||Spear, John Ward|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Law, Andrew Bonar||Stanley, Hon Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lawson, John Grant||Strachey, Edward|
|Colville, John||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crombie, John William||Levy, Maurice||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dike, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Williams, Rt. Hn J Powel (Birm.|
|Elibank, Master of||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. Ellison||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks., E. R.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone||Macdona, John Cumming||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Maconochie, A. W.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M'Kenna, Reginald||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Malcolm, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Maxwell, Rt. Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Boland, John||Bryce, Rt. Hn. James|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Boyle, James||Burke, E. Haviland-|
|Bell, Richard||Broadhurst, Henry||Caldwell, James|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Leamy, Edmund||O'Malley, William|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lewis, John Herbert||O'Mara, James|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lloyd-George, David||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lundon, W.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Reddy, M.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||M'Fadden, Edward||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Govern, T.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Moss, Samuel||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cullinan, J.||Murnaghan, George||Roche, John|
|Delany, William||Murphy, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Dillon, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nolan, J. (Louth, South)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Duffy, William J.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Field, William||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'n, N.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tully, Jasper|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hammond, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Doherty, William||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Lough and Mr. Henry J. Wilson.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)|
Bill read a second time, and committed for to-morrow.