§ I feel I can really dispense with going into any further detail because it is my fate to follow on an exposition by my noble friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, which has probably been read by almost every Member of this House. But there is one matter about which I should like to say a word before I sit down. Some of my lion, friends in this House and I in time past were actively engaged in preaching a doctrine which has now found great acceptance; and last year and the year before I was permitted at this Table to say something with regard to what I called, for want of a better phrase, the "intellectual equipment" of the two services. The House will be glad to know that the branch of the Admiralty which is particularly concerned with providing the intellectual equipment is not being neglected, but, on the contrary, is being increased in numbers, and that it has received, I think I may fairly say, that position of increased authority and dignity within the walls of the Admiralty which, in my opinion, is due to a body which has such grave and important functions to perform. But all those, and there are many in this House, who feel the great importance of this matter must have been gratified, as I am sure I have been, by the progress which this question—the solution of which is so vital to both services—has made in the last few weeks. I would ask the House to reflect how great is the extent of that progress.
§ Three of the things of which I know hon. Members are most desirous are now within course of accomplishment. In the first place, we have the deliberate and constitutional union, for purposes of consultation, of the naval and military departments; in the second place, we have what I know many hon. Members attach enormous importance to—the personal 880 attendance and superintendence of the Prime Minister at the Council of Defence; and, in the third place, we are to have what I believe is of great importance, viz., a continuous record of the proceedings of this body. Any one; who has studied, even to the small extent that I have studied, the method in which these matters are dealt with elsewhere, must have a sense of the loss which is incurred in not having in this country any body of what I may call considered opinion, anybody of doctrine, with regard to naval and military matters, to which we can refer, or on which we can draw with confidence, in support of any conclusion to which the Executive Government may arrive. It is undoubtedly the case that, whereas in some foreign countries the deliberate decisions announced by the representatives of the various great political departments on a matter entirely within their own province have always commanded respect and acquiescence, there has been no such acquiescence in this country. I have always attributed that to the fact that the public has recognised, with an instinct which perhaps does it credit, that men can only pronounce dogmatically or really with authority on problems which they have carefully studied, and that the public have not always believed that the pronouncements which have been made by casual though distinguished members of either the naval or military profession on matters of great complication have been the result of a life-long study devoted to this particular branch of their technical duties. I believe we are now within measurable distance of seeing written the first chapter of that book of doctrine for our guidance.
§ My right hon. friend the Prime Minister called the special attention of the House to the fact that the scheme which he recommended was in its infancy, and was probably destined to be developed in some method which he was not able at that moment to foresee or describe. He spoke with caution, as he was bound to speak, of the value even of the developed institution which some of us hope to see. He said truly that no organisation and no; provision would enable any country to: escape from the unforeseen and the surprises of war. That is indubitable; 881 but my study of the wars of the past would induce me to add to that a further consideration—that although provision and study cannot do everything they can do very much. Those who remember the history of the campaigns of Austerlitz or Sadowa can see how much may be inflicted on a country which has neglected these precautions and how much may be accomplished by a country which has taken them, and to what an enormous extent the events even of a campaign, which is sure to be full of surprises, can be anticipated by an intelligent study, before a shot is fired, of all the circumstances which are likely to attend that campaign. I believe that among the developments which the Prime Minister has foreshadowed we may look forward, perhaps at no distant date, to a study of these great problems by men who have devoted their lives to mastering the difficulties presented by the intricate problems of our Empire. When we have added that knowledge to the power of control and of investigation, which must be exercised by the Government and the Cabinet, and having, as we already have, this intimate association between the two departments, we shall, I believe, be better off in the event of the calamity of war overtaking us than we have been for long years past.
§ That is all I desire to say in introducing these Estimates; but I do want hon. Members to believe that the Admiralty do not put forward these Estimates or any of their proposals in any spirit of over-weening confidence. Everything is too obscure in regard to naval warfare to warrant anybody in adopting such an attitude as that. I can assure hon. Members that there is an earnest spirit at the Admiralty, anxious to lose no opportunity of perfecting the organisation; and though many changes are being submitted to Parliament, and many changes are being made which do not require the sanction of Parliament, I believe I can fairly say that these changes are being made, not spasmodically, not as the result of a whim or a sudden inspiration, or on the individual opinion of any individual member, but as the result of the combined counsel of the Admiralty, penetrated by a sense of 882 the enormous importance of the work they have to do, and anxious to obtain the best guidance for their purpose.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Many hon. Members who attach importance to the ancient forms for the conduct of the business of this House must have felt regret that the hon. Gentleman should have made his statement with you, Sir, in the Chair. I had hoped, the Secretary of State for War having reverted to the old and, I think, the better practice, that the hon. Gentleman would have adopted a similar course, and allowed the Motion that you, Sir, do leave the Chair to be used for what I respectfully submit is its proper purpose, viz., the submission of grievances by hon. Members before Supply is asked for. The hon Gentleman would then have made his statement, as did the Secretary of State for War, on the Estimates themselves. I the more regret the course the hon. Gentleman has taken on this occasion, because by it he has obtained some advantage over me. He has made a speech before I begin, and he is to make another when I have finished. He has taken a sighting shot at me before I have got into action. I also feel the disadvantage under which labour on the present occasion in respect of my personal inadequacy to deal with this matter. To many Members of this House the sea is a horror, the Navy a-mystery, and the naval officer an enigma, and to attempt to solve that enigma, to explain the functions of the naval officer, how he is produced, and how dangerous is to tamper with the provisions whereby he is to be brought to a perfect state, is a task which might appal even a seaman, and which is doubly difficult to me, who am, after all, but a landsman.
The sea may be a horror, but we who live in islands have to deal with it, for it is our only road, our only rampart; and f we are not its masters we must be its slaves. The first essential of this island Empire, therefore, is a strong and efficient Navy. I regret that at this very moment, when the primacy of the Navy is so loudly asserted, there is in the highest places in the country so great a distrust of it that he Secretary of State for War has invented six new Army Corps, avowedly 883 because he cannot trust the Navy to keep the command of the seas; while the First Lord of the Treasury considers the Navy to be incapable of striking a blow or producing any effect on the enemy unless it has an expeditionary Corps to help it—all which is contradicted by history. But all agree that the Navy is the principal force on which we must rely, and, if I may quote the remarkable document I am about to criticise, "by a strange decree of fate," it is this very moment when the primacy of the Navy is first openly recognised and asserted, which has been chosen by the Admiralty for the invention of what I presume my hon. friend would call the standardisation of the naval officer, so as to secure his interchange-ability—but what I consider to be the absolute destruction of the naval officer as he now exists. I need hardly remind the House that the Navy consists, not of ships or guns—they are things of wood, iron, or steel—but mainly and primarily of the men in the ships, the men behind the guns, and, above all, of the officers over the men. Of those officers the only one to whom I attach great and primary importance is the naval officer, properly so called, the man who handles, navigates, and fights the ship, and manages the crew in the working of the ship He is the only indispensable officer in the ship. Take away the naval officer and the ship is helpless. Take away al the others—the marine, the engineer, the chaplain, the surgeon, the pay master—and the naval officer will handle and fight the ship as well as ever. It fact, he does do so, for many of those important vessels, the destroyers, with crews of from sixty to eighty men, are handled without an engineer at all, and all of them without a chaplain, surgeon, or paymaster. Therefore I say I have warrant for my assertion that the naval officer is the king-pin of the whole system. As long as he is there the ship will work, but when he is not there, or is damaged in his quality, the ship will cease to work as it should. Will the House consider for a moment the extraordinary combination which the experience of centuries has declared necessary for the making of a naval officer. He joins the Navy—he should, he must 884 join it—young and at schoolboy age; et not as a schoolboy, but always as an officer. The boy goes to the "Britannia," and finds himself not under a schoolmaster, but under an officer. He goes to sea at the age of fourteen or fifteen, and there again he s treated as an officer, and learns him-self to be an officer by commanding men and taking responsibility at an early age. It is true that because of his youth his education is necessarily incomplete, and therefore he must have the schoolmaster to give him some instruction, which is most necessary provision. But what is the boy's life? At the age of sixteen he is in school. He hears his boat piped away, snatches his dirk and pistol and jumps into his boat, and finds himself engaged capturing a blockade runner. After this he takes off his dirk and goes back again to school. It is a combination of theoretical and practical. He sits on a form and learns, but he also stands on a deck and acts, and at this early age learns to exercise responsibility and to command men. That is the whole story. That boy at the age of twenty is probably fit to command anything. That is the training you are now going seriously to impair.
I shall be told that nobody disputes the efficiency of the naval officer. Then why touch him? If it be true, as it is, that the system and the traditions of the Navy have produced the most admirable naval officer, why cannot you leave him alone? One of the suggestions is that the naval officer of the present day has lagged behind the age. It is absolutely false. There is no training which has been so unceasingly developed as that of the naval officer. In the transition from wood to iron and from iron to steel, and the transition from sails to steam hydraulics and electricity, he has kept abreast of every movement in naval science. You find him studying and practising successfully sails, steam, hydraulics, and electricity; in fact, at this moment a naval lieutenant is being relied upon to instal the system of wireless telegraphy in Somaliland. Is this the man you must abolish and replace by something else before you consider him equal to his duties? But while I 885 magnify the naval officer proper, I do not desire to depreciate the other officers. I believe they are all good and excellent. I believe the marine and the engineer to be admirable, as they undoubtedly are. There, again, if they are admirable, why touch them? But I claim that of all of them the naval officer is preeminent and most necessary. The proposal is to standardise the naval officers and to run them all into the same mould, and the method by which it is proposed to do this is to take them all at the age of twelve and give them all the same education up to the age of twenty, and then serve them out to the various branches of the Service. I say that this is uncalled for, dangerous, and calculated not to increase but to impair the efficiency of all.
It was on Christmas Eve last that the document was promulgated which I regard as the death sentence of the naval officer as he exists at present. It came as a bolt from the blue. It was wholly unexpected, and it was received by naval officers and those who had the interests of the Navy at heart in silence. The document indeed stated on page four—The best authorities, naval and civil, will be consulted by the Board before carrying; the plan into operation.But on page three of the same document we had already been told that all these changes had been "determined upon," and that it had been "decided" to do the things related and proposed in the memorandum. What is the use of consultation after decision? No trace of consultation can I find in this document, nor do I find anywhere any trace of acquiescence on the part of authorities naval, military, or civil. I have seen many naval officers, and my experience is that every kind of naval officer, from the admiral down to the lieutenant—and I do not go lower than the lieutenant—is dead against this scheme. I cannot say that there are no exceptions. There is the exception of the noble Lord who was lately the Member for Woolwich, and who was accidentally prevented from slaughtering the Army scheme in the House of Commons by being appointed Commander of the Channel Fleet. This portentous document is full of tropes and figures and beautiful words and 886 phrases—"solidarity," "homogeneity," "the decrees of fate," and "long-felt wants" are piled up together with a few asthmatic perorations, all dressed in lady's maid's English. It was just the shallow and plausible scheme to please those gentlemen who write leading articles in half-an-hour, and especially those afflicting dons who pen the solemn twaddle of The Times newspaper.
It was Christmas time, and there was much to do of various kinds. Festivity and charity prevailed, and the Press accordingly hastily approved of the scheme. But when time passed by, when those who had tried to understand the Navy, when naval officers themselves came to examine the scheme, then indeed the tone changed. The Service journals soon began to show the defects of the scheme. Admirals and captains on active service have not scrupled in regard to the language in which they privately denounced it, but they dare not speak out because of Article 682 of the King's Regulations, which prevents the only persons who understand this question and know all about it from giving their opinion. And so it has been left to me, inadequately, to fill the vacancy. Now, as to the authorship of this document. Lord Goschen has thought it necessary to repudiate all credit for this scheme, and Lord Rosebery has suggested that it is the work of Admiral Fisher. Intelligent critics who have studied its style think they see in the scheme the hand of the Secretary to the Admiralty. I believe it is wholly and solely the work of the First Lord of the Admiralty, with possibly some slight literary assistance in phrasing and punctuation from the Secretary to the Admiralty. And I will tell the House why. In all great matters—and this is surely one of the greatest—it is usual for the Admiralty decrees to be promulgated and advocated by the permanent Secretary to the Admiralty, who is the sole recognised authority for communication between the Board and the outside world. But his signature is not on this document. It is moreover usual for the whole Board to sign when an order is promulgated affecting the King's Regulations; but the whole Board does not sign this document, for it is only signed by the First Lord of the Admiralty.
887 Again, no great change in the service or the King's Regulations has ever been introduced, nor, I believe, can legally be introduced, without an Order in has Council. But in this case there has been no Order in Council. It is now avowed that although the changes are there, and partially carried out, and although your engineer admirals, and engineer captains provided for in the Estimates, yet, not only has there been no Order in Council, but it has not been thought necessary to make an application to the Sovereign for such an Order. The only reply that is given is that His Majesty will at some future time be appealed to to make that Order in Council, and that it will probably be issued on that First of April which seems the chosen day for all changes in our naval and military forces.
This document is perhaps the most remarkable testimony that the country has been afforded of the preponderance in the Government of the Liberal Unionists. In every official position of trust, they occupy a much larger proportion than the Conservatives. It is perhaps natural on the same ground that in the child's Noah's Ark man was represented as so much bigger than the elephant in order to show the intellectual superiority of the human being. They do preponderate. They are almost exactly one-sixth of the whole combined Party, but of the sixty members of the Government, including those pillars of the Constitution the Lords-in-waiting, they but six. In the Cabinet, which consists of eighteen Members, they are not three but five; and in the Admiralty they not only preponderate but they are there alone, absolutely alone. The First Lord of the Admiralty is a Liberal Unionist, and the Secretary to the Admiralty is a Liberal Unionist. It is true there is the Civil Lord, who is a Tory, but what is a Civil Lord? If you look at the Order in Council you will find that the function of the Civil Lord is to assist the Secretary, and there he is on the Treasury Bench assisting him. In other Departments there is something like a division of responsibility between the Liberal Unionists and the Conservatives, but here there is not. The triumphs of 888 Venezuela are equally shared by the Liberal Unionist Lord Lansdowne and the Tory noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but in the Admiralty Liberal Unionists claim all: and if this scheme is adopted the credit or the mischief will be due entirely and exclusively to the Liberal Unionist Party and not, thank God, to the Tory Party. In this remarkable document the Admiralty declare that they "have studied the question with prolonged and assiduous care"; that they alone "have the advantage of knowing all the conditions"; and that they have produced "a long and carefully thought out scheme the advantages of which will be inestimable and permanent!' And so throughout, in the English I have described, the praises are sung of the Board of Admiralty as it exists and of that the first First Lord who has ever-understood the real wants of the Navy and has prepared to meet them. I do not wish to be unfair to the Admiralty or the First Lord. There are some good things in this document. There is promotion to warrant officers, increase of pensions to petty officers, free kit to stokers, better pay to singlemen and increase of artificers—all most excellent things. But they have nothing whatever to do with the new scheme. They are the insidious jam which conceals the latent pill, and therefore I have nothing to do with them. It is stated that this is a long and carefully thought out whole, but some of the most important matters have not been thought out at all. Lot me cite some of them from the document itself. As to the education of the naval cadet, it says—Every detail connected with the education of these young officers will be carefully thought out and considered, and the best authorities, naval and civil, will be consulted by the Board of Admiralty.Yet these details are of the essence of the whole thing and they are not yet settled. Then again—The sub-lieutenants of this branch (the engineer branch) are to go to the college at Keyham for a professional course, the exact duration of which will be determined with great care. The question of the rates of pay of the existing marine officers is being carefully considered. The lines on which the gunnery in torpedo schools may best be developed should now be settled.889 Therefore all these things also, which are no less important, are not yet settled; and last, and greatest and most important of all—The Board have now under consideration a plan for the complete reorganisation of naval bands.Well, these are all undecided points, and some of them are of considerable importance, and lying at the root of the matter to which the scheme refers. They are all being "carefully considered," "considered very carefully," "determined with great care," and so forth. This really does not come up to the praise which is bestowed upon the scheme by the Admiralty that invented it. The matter is of vital import. It is manifest that if mistakes are made in this matter they will be very serious indeed. Let the House remember that if this scheme is adopted and put into operation, the full effects of it cannot be felt for at least ten years. It will take ten years for those new young officers to come into positions of responsibility, and probably twenty years before they come into positions of great responsibility, where the difference between man and man is most felt in the Navy. If these are mistakes it will take generations to remedy the defects which have been introduced. But why this upheaval in the Navy? Is the Navy bad, and have the Boards of Admiralty been incompetent? Is the naval officer so inefficient that he must be entirely recast? The answer given in this Memorandum is entirely in the affirmative. This is nothing short of a most tremendous indictment, as I shall show the House, of every Board of Admiralty except the present one, and also of the existing naval officers. In effect this Memorandum charges that the officers are ignorant, disunited, and inefficient, that the}' have no common sentiment, that they are not abreast of progress (whatever that exactly means), and that they are unfit for their duties. As to the Boards of Admiralty, of the last fifteen years, the charge is that they have failed to recognise the changes that have occurred in the Navy, or to make the officers competent by adequate training. All these terrible things have, up to this moment, been unsuspected. Nobody would have believed them. Everybody believed quite the contrary. We 890 believed that the Boards of Admiralty had done their duty, and that the product, which is the naval officer, was truly and completely admirable. We should probably have remained under that belief if the hour had not come and the man. Let me quote from the Memorandum—It is difficult to measure the change which has taken place in the last fifteen years. In that snort period the officers and men of the Navy and Marines have increased from about 60,000 to over 120,000. There are several foreign navies more powerful to-day than the British Navy was fifteen years ago, and yet the relative standard has been maintained. Of the ships which formed the effective fighting ships of the Navy fifteen years ago but few remain on the effective list now. The country can judge for itself what years of strenuous labour these have been for the Admiralty, years in which every task fullfilled was forgotten in the anxious effort to fulfil tasks which had yet to be done. Throughout this period the Board never lost sight of the most important question of all those which confronted them, the education and training of the officers and me of the Navy, and the adaptation of that education and training to the new conditions under which I he Navy has to work.But these Boards were all failures. Lord Northbrook was a failure; Lord Ripon was a failure; the noble Lord who is now Secretary of State for India was a failure; Lord Spencer was a failure; and Lord Goschen was a most especial failure, because this very Memorandum cites his experiment with regard to the public schools which ended so disastrously. Every Board of Admiralty has essayed in vain to deal with this problem. They all tried and they all failed. They "never lost sight" of the question, but they failed to solve it. They gave "years of strenuous labour" but it effected nothing, and it is quite clear from this Memorandum that all Admiralty Boards would have continued to fail had there not in the very nick of time arisen a prophet, and the son of a prophet—aye, and the son-in-law of a prophet, and the brother-in-law of a prophet, and the cousin in-law of a prophet to show how he could succeed where so many preceding Boards of Admiralty had failed, and if this be the indictment of the Board, what is the indictment of the naval officers? I will state in the Admiralty's own words what it is—They [the Admiralty] have determined on changes which they are convinced are adapted 891 to the changed conditions of the time, and will increase the efficiency and solidarity of the service.That means that at present there is not adequate efficiency and solidarity in the service—or it means nothing. Again—No seaman, however practical, will be fit to rise beyond a certain rank unless he has thought out the problems of his calling as a student, and has omitted no opportunity of acquiring the knowledge that makes up the science of his profession.That means, that at present the officers of the Navy have omitted their opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of their profession—or it means nothing.The strength which its unity gives to the service can hardly be overestimated, yet in respect of this very matter a strangely anomalous condition of affairs exists.That means that there is no sufficient unity now—or it means nothing.Up to this point the young officers' characters have been formed in one school, and all these sub-lieutenants have received as the foundation of their professional education that common knowledge which all alike require. Henceforward their education must be differentiated to make them fit to perform those specialised duties which are the product of modern science.Unless that means that at present the naval officer is not fit for his specialised duties, it means nothing.I hope that the officers both of the Navy and of the Marines will realise more and more in the future that the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy are but two great parts of the one sea service on which this country depends.That means they have not realised yet that they are but two parts of the one service. What! Did they not realise it when side by side they marched up the hill at Graspan, and when after losing one third of their number they conquered the hill at last? This indictment is absolutely unfounded. It is a false indictment, and a cruel aspersion on the officers of the Navy to say that they are lacking in all these attributes I have set forth. At last comes this statement—In the old days it sufficed if a naval officer were a seaman. Now he must be a seaman, a gunner, a soldier, an engineer, and a man of science as well.That suggests that the naval officer is not any of these. I say he is all of them. I say that he is all that already.
892 All that relates to the science that belongs to a ship he is at present perfectly endowed with, and all acts required of him he is capable of performing. If you look at this document what it suggests is that the naval officer at the present day is an ignorant person, who has just stepped off a sailing brig and never heard anything of steam, hydraulics or electricity, and that he requires nothing less than a Militia colonel to teach him his profession. I say the contrary is true. I say that naval education has kept pace with every other kind of education. The "Britannia." the service at sea, the "Vernon," the "Excellent," and Greenwich College have provided the most practical training in the latest resources of science, and of those resources the naval officer has most fully availed himself. Steam, for the last quarter of a century, has been part of the training of the naval officer, and he has now, with the greatest success, added to that such matters as electricity and hydraulics. I can tell the House of an instance in which a naval lieutenant found the defect in the hydraulic machinery of a turret, which the engineer was incapable of finding. As a matter of fact the naval officer, by which I mean the naval officer properly so-called, is admirably equipped, so far as possible, with all the scientific knowledge that is required. He is a man you cannot better. Of course the naval officer lives away from the world, unknown; he does his work at sea, unseen and unheard of. But those who do know him know that he is a thorough man, whose soul is in his profession, and that there is none so fully fitted and equipped for his business.
Take the case of the Marines. Their business is to act as soldiers. They are admirable troops. There is nothing in the Army that can touch them. I do not know why you want to revolutionise or extinguish the Marines. Nor are the Engineers less excellent. When they join from Keyham they are absolutely fitted to take up the duties for which they are required. What now are the proper duties of the engineer on board a man-of-war? He is not an engineer in the sense in which a man is whose business it is to design engines, and who requires great theoretical know- 893 ledge and considerable imagination. The engineer on board ship has as his business to take the engine when designed, to keep it running, and to take care that it does not get out of order. The ship engineer's business is mainly a matter of handles, levers, and glass-gauges; he is not properly an engineer at all; he is an engine-driver. It is true that an engineer properly so-called—a theoretical engineer—is required for designing, but you only want a few at home: you do not want them on board ship. When a machine gets out of repair, if the repairs are slight the engineer and the artificer can do them; but if they are serious the ship has to be sent to the dockyard. Battleships are indeed boxes of complicated and delicate machinery, but it does not follow that the care of it requires any very high qualities; on the contrary, the history of engineering is—the more complicated the machine the more simple is the care of it. Take the telephone—it is complicated enough, but you can work it by your footman.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Take the case of the motor-car with its complicated machinery, driven by a chauffeur, who has never yet asked to be called an admiral. Take the railway locomotive. It is driven by the driver and is looked after by the locomotive superintendent; but neither engine-driver nor superintendent asks to be called a director. The engineering function is to drive an engine at sea, and to keep it in order; of the theoretical engineers you want very few, and they should be ashore and not on board ship. The present engineers and artificers are competent to do all that is needed there. Then why all this upheaval, why this revolution? The real reason is to be found among the engineers themselves. The Secretary of the Admiralty has almost admitted as much. In his speech to-day he admitted it. In his speech at the 894 Fishmongers' Hall on 15th January, he said—If the difficulty with regard to the supply of engineers was to be solved, they must have a thorough education, and it was necessary they should undertake to give their naval officers, who showed themselves competent, the best education possible.The reporter, perhaps, rather spoilt I the beauty of his phrasing, but it shows, at any rate, that he had an eye to the engineer. Again at Glasgow, on the 24th January, the Secretary to the Admiralty said—He believed, under this new proposal of the Admiralty, the time would come when they would be able to give the engineer in the Royal Navy that opportunity within the service which they were sometimes told he had lacked, and which they all felt it was most desirable he should receive.I think, therefore, I am justified in saying that, after all, the engineer is at the bottom of the whole difficulty. And this is shown in the very last paragraph of the Memorandum, in which the Board of Admiralty say that—In the task of consolidating their work they rely, with supreme confidence, on the loyalty to the service of the officers of the Royal Navy and of the Royal Marines.Why do they appeal to the loyalty of the naval officer and the Marines only, and not to the engineers? Because these are supposed to be going to reap great advantages, and not to require, therefore, an appeal to their loyalty. They have to appeal to the officers of the Royal Marines and Royal Navy because these are getting nothing, while the engineers are getting everything.
What, now, are the grievances of the engineers? One is that the engineer officer cannot punish his men. No more can a torpedo lieutenant, or a gunnery lieutenant, or an officer of the watch. In each case they have to go to the captain. In the case of a torpedo-destroyer, the captain himself cannot punish the man; if the man breaks his leave in a most discreditable and scandalous manner, the captain has to keep him on board until he gets to the parent ship, and he has to send him there for judgment Nay, on shore we none of us can punish our servants; if my cook sends up a leg of mutton badly cooked, I cannot give him ten days cells; my only remedy 895 is to go to the magistrate. Therefore the idea of an engineer not being able to punish a man is purely an imaginary grievance. Again, the social grievance has disappeared. The engineer officer takes his place in the ward-room, and is welcomed there. I have never heard of any difficulty in the ship as regards the social question. All the engineering grievances, in my belief, would easily have been solved by the simple method of an increase of pay. That was the one solution. The Vote for engineer pay amounts to £250,000 this year. Suppose you had given an increase of 10 per cent., or even of 20 per cent., it would have satisfied the engineers, and contentment at that price would have been cheaply bought, instead of which you are revolutionising the whole scheme of education. Are the engineers grateful for this boon? Not they. Listen to what G. M. Johnson, Chief Inspector of Machinery, their great spokesman, says—And what does the new scheme confer on the present engineers in the service? An empty title! A title shorn of all the privileges, accessories, and the authority which executive rank has hitherto conferred on its predecessors! A thing of shreds and patches—a discredited counterfeit foisted on the country. A deliberate extension of the system of veiled contempt with which the engineer has been treated by the executive class ever since they were first compelled to admit him into the ranks of the Navy as a necessary evil.A "discreditable counterfeit." That is what your engineers call the scheme which was mainly intended to satisfy them.
That is not all. It has leaked out that it is the final intention of the Admiralty to get rid of the major part of the engineers altogether and to substitute for them artificers of a lower grade. If that is so, the result of your great scheme for the benefit of the engineers is that they will have been engineered out of the Navy altogether, and the engineers will find that they have foolishly agitated to their own destruction. But there is more. Under the new scheme the engineer is to go to the "Britannia" for from four to seven years at a cost to his parents of at least £100 a year. How are the families of that excellent artisan class who have furnished so many engineers to the Navy, and still furnish them for the mercantile marine, to continue to provide them for the Navy? How are 896 they to send their sons to a service which requires so much outlay? How can they afford to pay £100 a year for seven years or more? This scheme, when carried out, will make it absolutely impossible for persons of that kind to-send their sons into the Navy, and you will close the service of naval engineering to the class which has given the best men in the past, and which now furnishes the only engineers to the mercantile marine. I am sorry to have detained the House so long, but I feel I am doing inadequate justice to this most tremendous subject.
One other point. I have already explained that the marines, the engineers and the naval officers are all to be started in the same school up to twenty years of age, and that they are then to diverge. At first, to quote the; Memorandum, we were told that "it is proposed to make the division into the various branches definite and final," but on the 25th February the First Lord made a revelation, and said—I have no. more doubt than that I am standing here that the scheme will work out so that all these branches of the naval service will throughout the career of the officer be interchangeable."Interchangeable." That is the end. It does not, indeed, include the chaplain, the surgeon, the paymaster. I do not see why it should not. If there is anything in your scheme the chaplain should fight the ship, the paymaster serve the guns, and the last consolations of religion be administered by the surgeon to the blue-jacket who has had his leg sliced oft' by the torpedo lieutenant. The scheme as it stands is no less ridiculous. It is impossible that a naval officer can go from the deck properly and adequately to take charge of the engines, and it is equally impossible for the engineer officer to go on deck and handle the ship. It is even more impossible for the marine officer to take charge of either, and the scheme is one for making every man fit to do every other man's business—which is impossible.
Only one point more, and I have done. This scheme will enormously increase the patronage of the First Lord of the Admiralty. At present he gives nominations to 3,401 naval officers only; but in future he will also give nominations for 466 marines and 1,210 for engineers, or 897 1,676 more. This scheme, in short, will give very nearly double the number of nominations to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and so double the amount of his political patronage. Nor is that all. The scheme declares that—No sub-lieutenant will be compelled to join a branch for which he did not enter as a boy when applying for a nomination, but in giving nominations for competition for entrance to the 'Britannia,' preference will (other things being equal) be given to those boys whose parents or guardians declare for them that they will be ready to enter either of the three brandies of the Service.How a parent can declare for a boy of twelve that at twenty he will be ready to enter a particular branch of the Service, only a First Lord of the Admiralty can say. But see how it will work. Two boys apply for nominations—A and B. A will not declare readiness to enter either branch, and B will. A is the son of an Earl or the grandson of a lawyer, B is the son of a Dissenting parson. Will the First Lord hold the other things to be equal in such a case? He is the judge. Will B be given a preference over A? I doubt it. It seems to mo this scheme will make a huge new engine of political influence in England which is extremely undesirable. I believe that the old system was right; that it requires no essential alteration whatever; that the new system is mischievous, and may be disastrous. The functions of the naval officer, the marine officer, and the engineer officer are diverse, and are daily becoming more diverse, and therefore their training should be diverse. There must he day by day more, and not less, specialisation, earlier and not later specialisation. But here is a scheme which generalises everybody, as though they were all to perform the same functions. The naval officer as he at present exists is admirable, but for that naval officer, who is a specialised seaman, engineer and man of science, you propose to substitute a hybrid, interchangeable popinjay, a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I do earnestly hope that the House will not give its assent to this hasty and ill-considered scheme. Experiment, if you will, with your Army, and play what fantastic tricks you like with it. The Army is comparatively unimportant as contrasted with the Navy, but do not 898 tamper with your naval organisation, which has grown up from the experience of centuries and has produced such admirable results as we see in the existing naval officers. I beg to move—"That the new scheme of naval training embodied in the Memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty, dated 16th December, 1902, is calculated, in its present form, seriously to impair the efficiency of the Navy, and that, before being carried into effect, it should be reconsidered and modified."
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
I should like to second the Amendment because I regard the scheme of the Admiralty as fundamentally bad. My chief objection to the scheme is directed against that part of it which relates to the early entry of the boys and to their school time, between twelve and seventeen years of age, before they go to sea. In this matter the Admiralty are not themselves experts; they are rather obtruding on the domain of experts, and therefore they cannot find fault with any criticism of their scheme. But not only are they not experts in this matter, they have a very bad record in the past, because, twenty years ago they kept a school for boys of between twelve and fourteen years of age, and it was, confessedly, an extremely bad one, and an extremely expensive one. Every boy in the school cost £308 per annum, and of that sum £98 was found by the parent and £210 a year was found out of the Consolidated Fund. The school was occasionally inspected, and the reports of the examiners were incautiously published by the Admiralty, incautiously, because some of them excited considerable discussion. Then the Admiralty refused to publish any more reports, or to let the House know what the inspectors thought the state of their school was. In those days there came into this House a rising young naval officer, Lord Ramsay, who had himself been commander of the "Britannia" for two years, and who was returned to this House as Member for the city of Liverpool. Lord Ramsay gave to the House a description of the "Britannia" which compelled the Admiralty to abandon the practice which they had then adopted of taking these little boys and schooling them in the "Britannia." Unfortunately they did not raise the age, as urged to 899 do at the time, to seventeen, and took sort of half measures and raised it to fifteen and a half years. The whole plan, however, of taking these little boys was abandoned.
Allow me to remind the House of the reasons against the plan which was deliberately abandoned twenty years ago, and to which the Admiralty have again practically reverted. The first objection is that it subjects little boys of twelve or twelve and a half years of age to competitive examination, which is one of the very worst things for young boys, and prevents their education. All competitive examinations are bad, although in some cases they may be necessary evils; but they are especially bad for small children. An appointment is given to the boy who answers the greatest number of questions put in examination, and the consequence is that for a few years he is not educated at all, but prepared for examination and taught how to answer questions. The system is a very bad stimulus to education; with these little boys it is something worse. The medical authorities are agreed that the anxiety and dread of these examinations, and the strain of them, are so great that they positively injure the intellect and leave the brain entirely depleted of its powers. In their scheme the Admiralty say that they will not make the examination very severe; but how can they make it not severe? This is a very long and carefully thought out scheme, but they have not told us how the severity of the examination is to be mitigated. In any examination the strain is very great, even if it is only in arithmetic, algebra, or an easy paper in the French language. The strain of the examination upon these little children, and their preparation for it, is enormous. In fact, so bad is the system of competitive examination for entering little boys of twelve years of age for the Navy, that the late Mr. W. H. Smith would never put a stop during his lifetime to the system of nomination, saying that it was infinitely preferable to examination. Lord Ramsay, the young naval officer to whom I have referred, said that the early entry was perhaps the most mischievous and most pernicious feature of the whole system.
My second objection to entering the boys at an early age is that many of them never become naval officers. Lord Ramsay had of course similar experience 900 in the "Britannia," and ho told the House of Commons that a very large number of the cases out of 250 boys who had entered that institution, and into which he had inquired, had consented to go to the "Britannia" in order to get away from school. That was a most brilliant idea! A very large number had also gone into the service because their parents wished it, although they had no particular taste for it, and did not think they were fitted for it. Under the new scheme the Admiralty entered boys of twelve and a half years of age who are afterwards to man the executive, the engineering, and the marine branches of the service; but a great number of these will not, when they come to years of discretion, wish to become officers at all. The Admiralty themselves see this, because they propose in their Memorandum to eliminate very freely during the course of training between twelve and seventeen years of age a great number of the boys. But what an extemely uneconomic and expensive process that is? These boys will have had spent on them a large sum of public money every year to educate them. In this long and carefully thought out scheme the Admiralty do not tell us of finance. There is no kind of estimate of the cost of providing our naval officers, but if it is like the "Britannia" of old days, it will cost the country upwards of £200 per year for every one of the boys. That is a very extravagant way of manning the Navy.
But I have a very much stronger objection. As to the spoiling of a number of boys, perhaps that is a matter with which the Admiralty think they have nothing to do, but this House, which represents the interests of the country, has something to do with it. How many boys are you going to spoil for life by a proceeding of this kind in order to obtain officers? A boy twelve and a half number of naval may be entered at years of age and turned out at fifteen, and he will have lost, educationally, a great part of that time. He may not be qualified to make a good naval officer, but he may have very rare merits in another direction. The career of the boy is therefore interfered with, and may be utterly spoiled.
901 Another objection to the scheme, which is a very strong one, is that one of the worst things that you can do with any class of boys is to separate them from the rest of the community and give them a special education apart, instead of allowing them to mix with other boys. No part of the scheme seems to me much worse than that. It is quite true that in the Navy, as well as in other professions, you have to give at a special stage special education, but everybody who knows anything about education at all, knows that specialisation should be made as late as possible, and not at twelve years of age. Until you have to separate the boys for specialisation, it is far better that they should be brought up with other boys than set apart in the manner the Admiralty propose. Again I quote the authority of Lord Ramsay, who said—This system of separating little boys from their fellows was destroying much originality of character, and narrowing the minds of future officers by cutting short their general education, and taking them out of the world before they had time to see anything of it.Another naval officer, Captain Price, in one of the debates in this House, said that for the first two or three years he had been in the Navy he had learned nothing, and un-learned a great deal of what he had learned at school.
I have another objection; and that is that by this scheme you are practically restricting your naval officers, engineers and marine, as well as executive officers, to the richer pails of society. It is only a rich man that can afford to send his son from the age of twelve to the age of seventeen to a school at which he has to pay at least £100 a year. We have not got the details of the financial part of the scheme before us, but I assume that parent would have to pay £100 a year, or perhaps more. In that way you will restrict all your naval officers to the richer parts of society. I dare say that the present executive officers of the Navy are practically drawn from the riche parts of society; but the engineers are drawn from the middle classes; from the young men who, born in a poor station of life, have raised themselves by attending the public elementary schools, the higher grade schools, and the technical schools in such a way that, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, they arc fitted by 902 their own industry, and without having cost their parents one penny, to enter he Navy as engineers. You are going by this scheme to deprive those boys, some of the best boys of the country, of an honourable career hitherto open to them; and you will shut that career out from all boys whose parents cannot fiord to pay £100 a year for their education from the ago of twelve to the age of seventeen. The reasons for taking joys at this early age, which were referred to by my hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty, are two, which will be very much appreciated by naval men One is an historical reason. It is that history proves that boys will not take to be hardships of sea life unless they begin at an early age. The other reason is, that boys must go to sea early to learn seamanship, which can only be learned by practice, and which used to be one of the most important qualifications of a naval officer. But are you going to send, those boys to sea? If you were going to end them to sea at the age of twelve those arguments would apply; but you are going to keep them on shore, and in a school one might even say an inferior school, from the age of twelve to the age of seventeen, and then at the age of seventeen you are going to send them to sea. Why not take boys out of the schools of the country, and send them to sea at the age of seventeen. With the great enterprise there is in education in this country, and with all the additional enterprise which the Act of last year is likely to give to the local authorities, you have only to say what sort of boys you want, what qualifications you require, and the country will supply them at the age of seventeen, without any cost of trouble to the Government; the Admiralty will thus be relieved from the strain or keeping schools for little boys, and will be enabled to attend to their proper business of managing the ships of the Navy.
I examined with the greatest possible interest and curiosity this Memorandum to see what the reasons were for this proposal. I do not want to attack my hon. friend or the Admiralty; but I may say that the reasons given in this document are rather, what are perhaps unjustly called, women's reasons. On page four we find the reasons, and all they say is that the change is necessary. My hon. friend has not told us why it 903 is necessary; but he has told us that this is a long and carefully thought out scheme, which I should not have known otherwise, because it does not appear to me that many of the points have been thought out at all. It is also said that it is very important to have unity in the Navy, and that for this unity early homogeneous training is necessary. Homogeneous is a very long word, but I suppose what it means is, that we cannot have naval officers friends with one another, unless, as little boys, they have been to school together. But they would be at school together if they were taken from the ordinary schools. I cannot see in this Memorandum any reason given for reverting to the old plan which has been abandoned, and which I think it is a great pity that the Admiralty should now, without a great deal longer and more careful consideration, revive. The House will recollect that all authority, at least all Parliamentary authority, is against a system of this kind. Not only was this system condemned by Lord Ramsay and Captain Price, but also by Sir John Hay, one of the greatest authorities in his day on naval questions. Sir Edward Reed, also a considerable authority, at all events in the engineering branch of naval education, condemned it. It was condemned by Lord Knutsford, and also by Lord Goschen, when he was a Member of this House; and, although various Secretaries to the Admiralty, who had to defend the practice during the debates in this House twenty years ago, were obliged to say something in favour of the system, they very clearly showed that their sympathies were very strongly with those who attacked the proceedings of the Admiralty. Mr. Shaw Lefevre and Sir George Trevelyan sympathised with those who attacked the system, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Secretary to the Admiralty, was also sympathetic. Then we have another authority against it. We have the universal authority of all foreign nations.
Although no doubt we are very proud of our Fleet, and do not consider that any Fleet in the world can compete with it, yet in one particular subordinate branch, which is accessory to the training and education of officers, we are not particular experts. All foreign nations, 904 without exception, take their naval officers at about the same age that we take our Army officers, namely, at seventeen or eighteen year's of age; and as soon as they take them from the ordinary schools of the country they send them straight off to sea. I am told that our great naval rival—France—actually examined a scheme of this kind quite recently, but determined to pursue the old practice of the French Navy, namely, to take young men of general education from the ordinary schools of the country and begin their specialisation by sending them to sea at the age of seventeen or eighteen. I strongly object to the fundamental ground-work of this scheme; and I hope before it is carried out that these matters will be reconsidered. If lion. Members will turn back to the speech made in this House by Lord Ramsay—it was his maiden speech—they will find all the arguments extremely well stated. It was a speech made in 1880 and can easily be found, as Lord Ramsay did not trouble the House on a great many occasions. I strongly recommend that speech to lion. Members as containing a most excellent summary of all that is to be said for and against this particular feature of the Admiralty scheme.
May I now be allowed for a moment to leave my own ground, and follow the school-boy to the ship to which he is sent as a midshipman; and want to call the attention of the House to a rather important point. No doubt at seventeen, when the officer begins his naval training, you must give him practical experience of his profession, and practical work, as well as continue his theoretical education. I am sorry to say that this carefully thought out Memorandum does not state whether that practical work is to be given on a training ship specially adapted for training our officers, or given on an ordinary man-of-war. But whichever it is, I should like to ask the Admiralty to consider whether they think the provision made in their scheme, not for practical work but for the continuation of theoretical instruction, to be at all adequate. They say that as soon as the young officer goes to a man-of-war compulsory school work is entirely to cease, and that he is to be left almost to his own devices as to his studies. "A man-of-war," said Lord Ramsay—I must apologise for quoting 905 him so frequently but he is the great source of illumination on this subject—"is the worst place for scientific study that can be conceived." The duties of the ship are so necessary that the young officer is continually taken away from his studies, and when he gets back he cannot resume them with the same earnestness as if he had not been disturbed. He will be under no less than six separate tutors, men who have not been practically trained in the art of teaching, and who will have the supervision of his studies, without they themselves being at all qualified as experts in the art of teaching. There will be an executive officer to teach him executive duties, and an engineer officer to teach him about machinery, a gunnery officer, a marine officer, a navigating officer, and a torpedo officer. He is to be examined annually in all these subjects during this three years he is at sea; but the papers will not be set by the officers who have been teaching him, but will be sent down from the Admiralty. What will be the consequence? What in the result? Why, that this unfortunate youth during his three years at sea will be cramming for the Admiralty examinations so as to be able to pass them, and so obtain promotion. I do not think the three months at Greenwich which is to close the career of the midshipman will be at all sufficient to complete his intellectual and scientific study; and the only plan I can suggest is that these young officers should go to sea for a certain number of months, and be on shore for a certain number of months, during which time they should be engaged in serious study. You must of course combine study on shipboard with study on shore, and the only way to do that which I can suggest is to make the time at sea specific; and I am quite sure that unless some system of that kind is invented, you will find that the boy who has been to the Admiralty school from the age of twelve to that of seventeen, avid has been at sea from seventeen to twenty, with the exception of this three months spent at Greenwich, is very far inferior to the boy who has been brought up at the ordinary public school in the country, who may have learnt engineering in a secondary school, and have become a thoroughly trained engineer by the time he has reached twenty.
906 I do not wish to say a word against the idea which appears to have prompted this scheme—the idea of making all officers brothers in the Service and giving to them a common feeling for the Navy, and preventing there being any jealousy as to any particular branch in which they may be engaged. But after all the naval profession is very complicated. You cannot bring up a man as a good marine, a good engineer, and a good executive officer. It is far too complicated for that. You must have different branches of the Service. By all means amalgamate them as much as you possibly can, and do away with jealousy as much as possible; I only say I think the wrong way to do that is to take away little boys from the other little boys in the country and segregate them in a school different to all the other schools in the country, and then to suppose they will be better men. I think if the plan is adopted it will only end in bringing misfortune on the Navy and the country.
Amendment proposed—To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'the new scheme of Naval Training embodied in the Memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty, dated 16th December, 1902, is calculated, in its present form, seriously to impair the efficiency of the Navy, and that, before being carried into effect, it should he reconsidered and modified.'" "—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
Mr. Speaker, the somewhat unusual course that has been taken to-day has at all events this advantage—it enables the House to discuss by itself the comparatively narrow but immensely important issue raised by the Amendment before it proceeds to deal with the undefined and unexplained magnitude of these colossal Estimates. I propose to follow as closely as I can the speeches made by the two hon. Members who have just spoken. I agree entirely with the point made by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down that this is not a question in which the Admiralty are experts. This scheme strikes at the principle of competition in the public service, and it is therefore not a question for Admiralty opinion alone, or naval opinion alone, 907 but for the people of this country and their representatives in this House. That leads me to say, it being a scheme of this character and of this magnitude that I do not understand why the Admiralty has been so evasive of Parliamentary control as it has in this matter; why it kept this back until this House had risen; and why it has entered into this scheme at this time at all? What has it done? What is the scheme of the Government? You have under the present system naval officers of three kinds; the executive, the marine, and engineer officer. The executive officer comes into the Navy by patronage at an early age from the cadet school, the "Britannia." The marine officer comes in at a later age and by open competition, and the engineer officer also comes in at a later age and by open competition, and in spite of what the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty has said, I believe there can be no doubt that this scheme has been brought about by the dissatisfaction which those classes of officers other than the executive have felt for many years.
It is no use to disavow the fact that it is the dissatisfaction of the engineer and marine officers that has compelled this Admiralty, as it will compel every Admiralty, to face this question. What is the grievance of those officers? It is the position of professional inferiority in which they stand with regard to the executive officers. The engineers complain that they cannot issue orders to their inferiors and have no control over them. Neither they nor the marine officers can rise to the higher ranks, and both marine officers and the engineers suffer from a sense of social inferiority. It must be taken to be established as a fact that the repeated grievances they have made for many years undoubtedly arose from the difference of entrance into the Navy—the one by patronage and the other by competition. That difference brought about this social inferiority, and I call the House to witness that this immense experiment is due to nothing-less than the existence in the Navy of that; cursed spirit of class distinction which is the curse of the country. Now what have the Admiralty done? They have; not classed the position of the existing officers—they have, to use an old phrase, cut the Gordian knot. They have solved the question by making in future all naval officers to begin as cadets in the 908 "Britannia" at an age of twelve and a half years, and by patronage instead of competition. They train them together for eight years, of which the first four are to be employed in giving them a general education, and the last four devoted to special education. After the eight years they are to be separated into the three classes—executive, marine, and engineer, definitely and finally, according to this scheme. That, I believe, has been mitigated by a recent announcement, but that is the embryology of a naval officer. It appears to me rather like a misapplication of a misunderstood scientific principle, but that is the scheme, and my objection to it, while not confined to the points taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Cambridge University, is largely founded on the reasons he has given. What I want to impress on hon. Members on this side of the House is this—the proposition now before the House is whether you are going to abolish the principle of competition; of entry by merit; whether you are going to abolish that principle in the two branches of the service in which it now exists and base the whole of your naval service on. patronage, in the first instance, and class interests and power in the second. That is the manner in which this matter has I to be considered, and to that point I shall devote what little I have to say. Competition, entrance by merit, all these things go by the board, and the only excuse, the only pretence for an excuse, is that reverted to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, which is, that you cannot get a proper seaman unless you catch him young, at the age of between twelve and thirteen. In other words, you have a declaration by the Admiralty that you cannot give a boy the proper sea-character unless you begin at twelve and a half years. That is a business point for the House to consider, and it is to the consideration of this point that I desire to devote a few moments. There is not a unanimous naval opinion on this question; so far as I know it is a point on which if you had a naval opinion it might be of great value, but the question of whether it is necessary to begin young in order to become a good seaman is a question on which naval opinion differs. Anyone who has read the old debates in this House knows that no two naval men hold the same opinion on it.
909 One of the brightest names in the annals of the British Navy is that of Lord Dundonald, but he entered the Navy at eighteen years of age, or about the period of the second stage under the new scheme. What is this sea-character which cannot be acquired unless you catch your seaman at the age of twelve and a half years? Does it apply to all seamen? Does it apply to the mercantile marine? Does it apply to all the men in the Fleet? The ordinary seaman comes in at eighteen, from which it appears that the sea-character is a thing which does not concern the ordinary seaman at all, but is special and peculiar to the officer. But supposing it to be confined to the officer, has it ever been contended to be necessary in the case of marines or engineers I Or, to adopt the argument of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, do you now, in justification of this proposal, allege that the true sea-character has never been acquired by the marine or engineer officer? I do not believe that anybody who knows the Navy would venture to take up such a position as that. These boys will not get sea-life, and how they are to get sea-character at a land college is one of the mysteries which have not been explained, either by the First Lord of the Admiralty in his Memorandum, or by the Secretary to the Admiralty in his speech to-day. Confining myself to the alleged necessity of fixing the age at twelve and a half years, I would ask what reliance can be placed on the supposed preference of a boy of that ago for a naval career? Can you trust the preference of such a lad as you would trust the deliberate preference of a young man who has been thinking about the matter for four years more, and who at the age of seventeen, after considering all possible careers, makes up his mind for the Navy? If you asked my opinion, I should say, choose the more, rather than the less matured judgment, and I regard that as one strong argument against the adoption of the earlier age.
To go back to the preparatory stage, in the course you are going to give them for the first four years there will be, and cannot be anything else, but a good secondary education. You cannot give them anything more than that; you may base it largely on science—in my humble judgment all education ought to be based on science, and I approve of all 910 the Admiralty propose as to that—but you cannot give them anything more than a secondary education. Therefore I would say, instead of taking them at twelve and a half years and condemning them, as you will be condemning them, to a naval career, fix your requirements by declaration, say that boys must know something of the principle of marine engineering and the physical sciences, and take them at the age of sixteen or seventeen when an examination can be a reality, and you may rest assured that the public school system will produce the training which will yield the results you desire. After carefully considering the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the alleged necessity for cadets entering at this early age has not been and cannot be proved. I believe the adoption of the early age is not the consequence of any such necessity at all, but it has been favoured in order to build upon it a system of patronage and exclusive appointments. Even if it were proved to me, as it has not been, that there are advantages in the selection of the earlier age, I say that it is paying too high a price for those advantages to adopt a system which excludes from the service of the Navy 95 per cent, of the brain and muscle of the eligible candidates who might be willing to adopt a naval career. The effect of this scheme will be the complete exclusion of all but a privileged class from the Navy, which all pay for, and which belongs, not to the Admiralty or to naval officers, but to the people of the country at large. We can to some extent judge the probable effects by the results of the system in the Army. Coarser methods are there applied, but they have the same object in view. We have in the Army what are called "crack" regiments; I hope we shall never have in the Navy "crack" ships, in the fashionable sense in which the word is used. In the debate to which reference has been made, Lord Goschen spoke; he was then First Lord of the Admiralty, and this is the principle he laid down—That naval service must be open to all classes of the people.Lord Gosehon has no doubt changed his opinion on many subjects, but I doubt if; he has changed it on this, and I hope 911 that before the scheme becomes an accomplished fact the late First Lord will have something to say about the proposals of his successor.
Allusion has been made to the late Member for Woolwich. Lord Charles Beresford is an excellent example of the kind of naval candidate who obtains easy admission to, and rapid promotion in, the Navy. He has been succeeded in this House by an hon. Member of a very different type, representing unknown forces, and probably, to some, unwelcome opinions. I shall look with interest to see how the successor of Lord Charles Beresford votes upon the first question submitted to him. In the name of the Crown, the Admiralty come to the hon. Member and say: "This Navy, for which we ask £36,000,000, must be supported by taxes on the bread, tea, and sugar of the people, but we state frankly to the class to which you belong, practically the whole of your constituents, that though their sons may be stokers, artificers, and perhaps warrant officers in the Navy, we are going to take care, by this new system, that it shall be impossible for them ever to become officers." That is the question placed before the hon. Member, and I have very little doubt as to how he will vote upon it.
Reference has been made to certain articles in The Times newspaper. I always read the naval articles in The Times with more interest than any other part of that remarkable organ of the powerful, wealthy, and privileged classes of this country. In one of those articles a gentleman, defending the scheme, has the assurance to say that under these new proposals dukes' sons and cooks' sons will come into the Navy on equal terms. That is what men who have not examined the scheme say.
But while I am supporting his Motion, I do not take the same view of other parts of the scheme as the hon. Member for King's Lynn. I do not believe that the grievances of the engineers are of such a character that they can be bought off by a payment of money; that things are as they ought to be, and that all you have to do to satisfy the engineers is to add 10 per cent, or 20 per cent, to their salaries. Therefore, though I have attacked the scheme on the grounds that I have mentioned, it must not be sup- 912 posed that I concur with the hon. Member opposite in what has been the main body of his criticism. I agree rather with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, that, while the exclusion of competition and the establishment of patronage is the one big thing concerning the scheme upon which the House has to pass judgment, there are other questions, also difficult, involving other considerations. What is to be the effect of this scheme on the Navy as a whole; and, in particular, what are the prospects of what is called the "interchangeability" of officers? On that point I should like to have naval opinion. On a question of that sort, naval opinion would be most important if we could only get it; but we have not got it, and I am afraid there will be some difficulty in getting it. The question of interchangeability is manifestly a difficult one, and there are two questions I should like to ask. You are going to make the marine executive and the engineers all one. After what has been said, I think some statement ought to be made on the question of the status of the marines. If you are going to mix the officers up, I suppose there will be a certain fusion in the lower ranks also, and I should like to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say on the question of whether it is at all necessary to keep up the separate organisation of the marines on board ship.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
The suggestion was to make them all one, and I suggested as a deduction from that that some explanation might be necessary why they do not go further and abolish the distinction altogether as far as the marines are concerned.
That question does not arise. It may be somewhat remotely connected, with the subject of the Amendment, but it cannot be discussed.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
It would be necessary to know what are the special functions of this special class. But there is another question. There will be grave difficulties in the transition 913 period between the officers of the old system and the officers of the new system. There must be friction of some sort between the officers and engineers of the old and new system. All these things want considering. The main question, however, which the House has to consider to-day is the one with which I began, namely, are we, for the sake of an unproved advantage and an unprovable advantage, and for the sake of bringing officers into the Navy at an age far lower than usual, to establish a system which removes them, so far as the officers are concerned, entirely from the main bulk, which destroys competition, which will have an evil effect, and which will produce no advantage to the country or to the Navy. I agree with the Amendment to this extent, that in destroying the principle of public competition, and in establishing the principle of favouritism and exclusiveness, the Admiralty has gone too far; the Government ought never to have taken up this scheme or proceeded with it without the assent of Parliament, and I declare my confirmed and determined opposition to that part of the scheme to which I have referred.
*MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
It was obvious during the earlier part of this debate that the support that Government might get for this scheme from their own followers would be a divided support. It is pretty obvious that upon this side of the House also there is a good deal of division of opinion. My hon. and learned friend who has just sat down has made a powerful speech about the scheme, and he has done great public service by calling attention to one matter connected with it, and that is the large extent to which patronage is put at the disposition of the naval authorities. That is an important point, no doubt, but I have been deeply moved by different considerations connected with this scheme, turning on another point which seems to be equally vital, I agree with my hon. and learned friend that it is a question of balancing difficulty against difficulty, and that the burden is upon those who say the change must be made. The point I have in my mind is one which leads me to think very strongly that this 914 scheme is a very good one and goes to the root of the matter. The complaint, as my hon. and learned friend has put it, against this scheme is that it should be deemed necessary to bring officers into the Navy at an earlier age than is at present the case, and he argues that there is no reason why these officers should not be rendered fit for the Navy at a later stage in life. But, Sir, if there is one thing about which there has been strong feeling of late, and one topic upon which there has been more agreement than upon any other, it is the unfortunate fact that most of our Admirals are comparatively old men. The conditions of the service which control the promotion of officers in our Navy are such as to give high rank at a far later ft age than ought to be the ease if you are to get complete efficiency. The ages of the admirals in the German Navy are on an average some ten years less than those of our own admirals. Now, Sir, I am not saying that we have not had some magnificent service from elderly men in our Navy, and I hope that we shall continue to have such magnificent service in the future. I do,, however, say that it is a bad thing, when everything depends upon quickness and daring, upon judgment and courage, and upon those qualities which you do not often find in men who have passed the prime of life—I do say that it is a misfortune that we should have a system which of necessity compels these admirals to be kept back from exercising their supreme functions until a stage has been reached when they are past the prime of life. On that ground alone I should say it was a material advantage to reduce the age at which officers should be able to join the Navy.
No, but the German admiral age is much earlier. I am aware that the German naval cadets enter later, because they have to go through the secondary school system, but I was under the impression that our Navy was a model, and that we meant to be very much ahead of Germany as far as the quality of our officers is concerned. I do not think anybody can form a just 915 judgment of the scheme without looking at what the problem is which the Admiralty has to solve. I agree with my hon. and learned friend that there has been great dissatisfaction on the part of the engineer branch of the Service, but that is not the only matter, nor is it the most serious one. As time has gone on, the work of the average naval officer, whether he be an executive officer or an engineer, has gradually become of a more and more technical character, demanding more and more complete training, and calling for a combination not only of various qualities, but of kinds of knowledge which cannot be got unless the education is of a very much more thorough character than it was in the good old times.
Two qualities have been called for. The hon. Member for King's Lynn, in the fine old crusted speech in which he complained of the influence of the Liberal Unionists, desires us to go back to a former state of things, to those old traditions about our midshipmen who used to command cutlers at a very early age, and did so very efficiently, with a plenitude of language which usually belongs to a much later stage in life. No doubt that sort of sea quality is very valuable, but, on the other hand, you are now calling for increased scientific knowledge, increased training, and better education for young officers. How are you to combine those qualities? It is for the want of the combination that the existing system has broken down. The average boy who comes from the public schools has not been properly trained when he arrives at fifteen or sixteen years of age, and he has not got that kind of quality which the old midship man used to get. The kind of training which the young officer has to go through does not make up for the deficiences which the school training necessarily has. We have now passed away from the kind of education afforded by masts and yard-arms, which made a seaman of a young officer very fast, and we have got back to a condition of things in which scientific knowledge is most important, and which must yet be acquired in a sea atmosphere.
Now the Admiralty are face to face with this problem. The battleship, the 916 cruiser, the torpedo destroyer, or whatever it is you are dealing with, is getting more and more of a scientific instrument, and is getting to be a vessel in which every part is co-ordinated, and in which no man can command the whole unless he has a knowledge of every part. The executive officer must to some extent be an engineer. I disagree with the hon. Member for King's Lynn that a man can separate the two capacities, or be a good controller of machinery, without knowing in detail how to deal with it. Your executive officer must have some knowledge of engineering if he is to be really first rate on board a battleship or cruiser. Your Marine officer and others a re, on the other hand, at present cut oft altogether from the kind of naval surroundings which they ought to have if they are to be brought into relation with other duties. The purpose of the Admiralty in this scheme is, if possible, to provide a type of naval officer who will have all this kind of knowledge when he begins his career, and then, and not till then, will they allow him to differentiate. I see no difficulty in a man of nineteen or twenty having sufficient knowledge of engineering to be an expert in the art of understanding and controlling the ship's engines, and see no difficulty in such an expert also having the general knowledge which an executive officer ought to have. Let anybody interested in these things watch the young officers who are being trained to work the torpedoes at Portsmouth on board the "Vernon" Whether it be torpedo work, or wireless telegraphy, or any other technical subject taught on the training ships, you will see at every turn the necessity which is growing for the naval officer understanding every branch of the science which is necessary for the handling of a ship. Whether you are dealing with gunnery, torpedoes, the engines, or the electricity which is the motive power right through the ship, or with the liquid air which is likely to be of such importance in the future on board our warships, all these things require scientific knowledge, which must be possessed by every kind of officer. That is the problem the Admiralty have to face.
I dissent from the view that this is a problem which has arisen merely out of the 917 discontent of the engineer officer. I feel that it is due to the growth of our time and the great change that has come over the tremendous instruments of war which science has made necessary if we are to hold our own in the competition of the world. The problem which the Admiralty has had to face is to provide a system under which officers can begin earlier to acquire their knowledge. The situation was—that the public school had made the endeavour to furnish young men who would come up at the end of their secondary education and compete for entry into a short service. That has been found to be insufficient, and accordingly the Admiralty have formed the design of reverting to a different kind of training, under which the officers begin at an early age in order to produce this interchangeable and highly trained kind of officer. This is no new idea, because this kind of officer exists already in the United States, where he had been a great success. I must say that I was strongly impressed by the opinion of certain of the naval authorities of the United States, who gave nothing but praise to this scheme so far as in operation across the Atlantic. But how are you going to produce this kind of man unless you give him longer training than three or four years? You must take him at an early age. If you are to begin at the first four years of his professional life, between twelve and twelve and a half years of age, you must begin by instilling into him something of seamanship. It is said that these four years are to be passed at a college on land. I am not sure if I have read the scheme in the same way as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University—there is to be a naval college, but there is to be training in marine appliances and ship appliances.
I believe there will be war ships provided for giving instruction; there is to be a ship in which these boys will be trained, and in which they will be in contact with naval officers through that period of their career. I do not interpret the scheme in the restricted sense in which the right hon. Gentleman interprets it, and it 918 turns out that my interpretation is the right one, for I see nodded assent from those gentlemen on the other side of the House who are responsible for the scheme. The idea is to bring the boy into a naval atmosphere and give him there the beginnings of a first-rate secondary education. He will begin at twelve, when his primary education is done. The secondary education adopted for naval purposes is one which he may make use of for other purposes if he fails in the examination, or for any other reason does not qualify for the Service. You are going, as I read the new scheme, really to start a very good new school. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the failure of an attempt of this nature on board the "Britannia." That, I think, is probably very true. It is a quarter of a century since that time, and we come to this matter now with superior wisdom. I trust it is within the capacity of the Admiralty nowadays to organise a good secondary school of this special type, because, if not, then I should begin to doubt their efficiency for Admiralty purposes in which, up to the present time, I have been very much disposed to believe. I think it is possible to start a first-rate school of this kind. It entirely depends on whom you get to manage it. Our naval people have proved themselves, in other spheres, sufficiently handy and adaptable to make me, believe that they are sufficiently handy and adaptable to bring themselves into line with educational experts in this matter. Then, after these four years, it is alleged against the scheme that it is by no means certain that there will be any real good training on board ship. There, again, the Admiralty Memorandum is somewhat sketchy, but I find nothing to exclude the notion that every encouragement will be given to the young cadet getting into the second stage on board ship so that he may thoroughly apply himself to the study of his profession. It is not going to be a continuation school. The Admiralty in that matter have left themselves a good deal of elasticity, and it will be their duty to lee that the course of training for the four years is carried out in a more specialised naval form in the next three years. If that is not done, it will be the duty of this House to call them to account, 919 and some of us who are interested in this matter will follow it with a great deal of attention. There you have seven years of what ought to be, if the general principles which are laid down in this Paper are carried out, first-rate secondary education specialised as such education ought to be specialised in the view to the subsequent career of the officer. The science that is taught in the ordinary public school is taught generally without specialisation, whereas here you have a class of school which is designed to produce a particular kind of mind in the trained officer. I welcome that on educational grounds. What is it that we have been complaining of in this country except the deficiency of specialised secondary schools? The Tight hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University has been the keenest critic of the absence of the provision of specialised secondary schools, and he has told us over and over again that we stopped short at the end of elementary education.
The point of the age is another matter; but the right hon. Gentleman knows that in the German secondary schools he admires so much the specialisation begins with the cleverer boys at this age. You are adopting that age which has been adopted in Scotland, and certainly ought to be adopted in England, as the time for beginning secondary education. I say that as the officer is to be a high scientific person in future, he must be trained in that fashion if you are to do any good. I am glad in the interest of education in this country that the Admiralty, which seems to be an enterprising body, is giving the whole cause of education a lift by teaching how to organise a specialised kind of schools.
I now come to the most formidable point made against the scheme. My hon. and learned friend the Member for Dundee has touched upon a point which I do think involves a disagreeable element, the predominance of the nomination system. I am glad to see that effect is given to my first conclusion that you must begin at this early age if 920 you are to do the work thoroughly, although we may agree or disagree as to the methods. I have given the reasons which convey to my mind strong conviction on the subject. But if you are to begin at so early an age as twelve you cannot have competitive examinations. I think they are ridiculous at that time. I think my hon. friend took that view. What he says is that you have not proved your case for the earlier age. If it were possible to get this training begun at sixteen or eighteen, certainly put it in the form of competition, as we put as many other matters in that form when entering the public service as possible, but if you cannot defer it without sacrificing efficiency, then I think we should be wrong if we sacrificed the Navy to the principle of competition.
The system, as I understand the Memorandum, is this—the First Lord will nominate, and there will be a certain number of nominations by persons connected with the Navy. There will be slightly more candidates than there are vacancies to fill.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
The scheme says that the present system is to go on, and there will be competition. The present system is to nominate three times the number for which there are vacancies, and the selection is by competitive examination.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
That is an entire misapprehension. There is no intention of following the old system of nominating largely in excess of the vacancies.
I certainly do not read the new scheme as contemplating the nomination of three times the number that are wanted. I read it to mean that you are to nominate 921 a certain number, and then, having regard to the number you are able to employ, you would be able by examination from time to time—the scheme does not go into details—to knock off those who are insufficiently equipped or objectionable on other grounds. We have got exactly that system in every public school. You have an examination by which boys go from form to form. And the examination test is not a perfect one. I am glad to see that in the United States there is rapidly growing a demand for higher and more searching educational tests. I am bound to say that this scheme is rather sketchy, and I shall be glad to hear what the details consist of. The knocking off of those who are not wanted for the second part of the course of training involves, of course, an invidious duty on the part of the naval authorities, and I should like to have an assurance that this, as well as the initial nomination, will be done in the most public possible way—that the lists of those who applied for nomination, as well as of those who have gone in for examination, will be published, and that the lists of those who have gained will also be published. If it is impossible to make everything public, at least let what is done be done, as far as possible, in the light of day. Let us take every security that there shall not be any jobbery connected with it. With the present First Lord of the Admiralty, and with Lord Spencer, who held that office in the late Government, I should not have the smallest fear of favouritism, but one never knows whether, from this side of the House or the other, there may not come somebody not so distinguished as a purist as these two men, and I wish to take guarantees that we shall be able to bring criticism to bear if we think there has been any case of undue favouritism. I should like a democratic profession in the sense that it should be open to everyone, but I am not prepared to sacrifice anything in the Navy to competitive examination. Therefore the difficulty will have to be got over in another way. I hope we will have guarantees now, or at a later stage, as to the fashion in which we are to have these nominations.
922 I have taken part in this debate, and support the scheme from two points of view. First, because the Navy has got to become more and more effective in that kind of organisation for which we claim predominance, of which we are proud, and in which we desire to be an example to the rest of the world. Secondly, because in this scheme there is an educational lesson to the rest of the nation engaged in other pursuits. On these two grounds, speaking for myself and reserving the liberty to criticise the details, some of which we do not know, I am, for my part, prepared to give my approval to the scheme.
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, Shipley)
The mover of the Amendment based his attack on the fact that candidates were to enter at a later age than hitherto, whereas the seconder and others have based their views on entirely contradictory grounds, viz., that candidates will enter the Navy at a very much later stage, and it is not necessary that a sea-going officer should enter young. I venture to think that the matter could not remain where it was, and that the great upheaval that has arisen from the Memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty was absolutely inevitable. What was the condition of things before? It was that the engineer force of the Navy had become more and more important; the work of the officers in the engineering branch had become baulked because of the paucity of candidates, and of the difficulty of replacing the natural wastage of engineering officers. That difficulty could not have been overcome by merely increasing the pay of engineer officers. They have as much esprit de corps as any other officers in the Fleet, and they desire that their position should be recognised, and that the important duties which they perform—the fact that they have the responsible discipline of over one-third of the ship's company—should be made clear, and their position improved accordingly. I heard with great regret the statements of the hon Member for King's Lynn. They were not worthy of any one of real understanding of Naval affairs and real experience of the requirements of His Majesty's Fleet. It is not 923 a question of mere monopolies; it is not a question alone of the management of one-third of the ships' companies; nor is it a question alone of discipline or the starting or stopping of an engine to order, but at the moment of difficulty, at the time of the breakdown of machinery, of the inevitable accident which must occur in times of peace, and are certain to occur in times of war—what are the attainments of the men you require? You must have them able to restore that machinery to its working condition, and to put right that which has gone wrong. The life of the engine-driver on land, with a skilled engineer who supervises him, has no relation whatever to the life of the engineer at sea. The latter has to depend upon his own resources, and he may be hundreds of miles away from those who have superior knowledge and responsibilities. Therefore, you must have in your naval engineer, knowledge, culture, and scientific skill, equal in most respects to the higher class engineer on land. Such are absolute necessities to one rising to the highest position in the Navy.
The difficulty I have in supporting this scheme is some doubt as to whether the age that is proposed, of, I think, nineteen or twenty years, for the young aspirant to engineering to commence his workshop experience is early enough. The lion. Member for Gateshead, who thoroughly understands the question of engineers, will no doubt agree with me that a lad cannot too early commence his workshop practice, and if that is obtained at too late a period of life, the young engineer will not acquire that knowledge which is essential for the proper discharge of his duties later on in life. Whether the suggestion that the period at which the aspirant shall go to the workshop may be accelerated commends itself to the Secretary to the Admiralty, and those whom he so well represents, I cannot say, but I think, if it be possible to arrange the workshop practice to commence at an earlier age in the engineering branch, that it will make for more practical knowledge and greater efficiency of the engineers m the future. Something has been said of the non-democratic character of this scheme. I believe you will find that it will produce a class of officers in the Navy which will correspond very 924 largely, both socially and n other respects, with the Royal Engineers in the Army. It is well known that sons of parents of moderate means may take up positions in the Royal Engineers and live on their own pay. I believe that military hon. Gentlemen, familiar with Army affairs, will bear me out in saying that the only corps in the Army in which an officer can live on his pay is the Royal Engineers. I believe, in like manner, you will find a class of officers will grow up in the Royal Navy who will be of that class. For that reason I think it will be found necessary and desirable that the higher rate of pay shall be given to all correspondingly of equal rank.
Order, order! The hon. Member is now going into a topic outside the Amendment which deals with the training of officers. He is going into the general position of certain officers in the Service.
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY
Then, Sir, I will not go into the question of pay. It was said by the right hon. Gentleman below me that you cannot combine in your officers the executive, the marine, and the engineering branches. But it is the very essence of the scheme that at nineteen or twenty years of age you specialise. You make your aspirant select either the executive branch, the marine branch, or the engineering branch. From nineteen or twenty years his education is limited, so far as speciality is concerned, to one or other of these branches. Then there is the question of competition. According to the scheme, it is understood by those who have carefully read the Memorandum that the system of competition is continued. It exists in the first stage, and it certainly exists towards the secondary stage, when the decision of the aspirant as to which line of the Navy he will enter has to be taken. As I read the Memorandum, the choice will be given by the Admiralty Board on the basis of confidential reports and the results of competition. Now, I challenge with absolute certainty the allegation of the hon. Member for Dundee that the humbler classes will be shut out from the officers of the Navy. The Secretary to the Admiralty told us in his speech to-day that sixty 925 warrant officers would commission rank.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
I was referring to those who began their naval career as officers, not to those who rose.
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY
I quite agree; but there are to-day, and will continue under this scheme, two means by which it is possible to rise to become Admiral of the Fleet. One through the midshipman, or by whatever way it is the custom, by the old or new schemes, for young lads entering the Navy with a view to being trained as officers, and the other, by which men of the lower deck, rising from the position of warrant officers, may attain. And just as that possibility exists to-day, as shown by those sixty promotions, so I believe it will continue under the new scheme. I have no hesitation in supporting this new scheme from the point of view of the engineers. I believe the existing engineers accept it as a reasonable and proper solution of the question, and I regard it as a wise and beneficial reform.
*MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
The hon. Member for Shipley has pointed out to us the many qualifications required and desired in an effective engineer officer; but he has failed to show in any way why students who are going to follow that branch of the profession should be called upon to come to a naval school at twelve years of age. Although I think there is much in the scheme that is good, my first and great objection to it is that raised by the right hon. the Member for Cambridge University, viz., the cutting off of young children of twelve years of age from their natural home life that is open to an ordinary boy, and the loss of which is so thoroughly disastrous. The plea of the Admiralty is that they want to get something by better training than they have now; but the very worst way of securing that is by appealing to the old traditions of the sea, which are that you can only get efficiency by catching the officer young. I believe that the open door at the age of seventeen would be far more conducive to the best brains coming to the Navy, when the competitive system of examination could be applied with beneficial results and without injury. All medical 926 authority points to the fact that any attempt to compel young children to undergo competitive examinations is positively hurtful to their future prospects and career. If we are going to take into the future nursery of the Navy, as raw material, a collection of young children, who are not to be subject practically to any test when they come in, but who are to be subsequently liable to the mortification—in which their parents would share—of being weeded out, I doubt very much whether many parents would assent to send their children under these conditions. It is very easy to tell us that it would only be the elimination of the unfit, but when children return to their home associations thus weeded out, they would suffer from the stigma of dismissal. The fact is that by taking the children too young it is impossible to test their merits, and thus many who under other conditions who choose this career are destined to lie lost to the service. I have another objection to this early entry, which could be better met by an open competition at seventeen years of age, arid that is, that the latter system would save the country from undertaking the responsibilities of their scholastic education, and also from the considerable expense necessarily involved. The number of students in the "Britannia" is at present about 280; but it is estimated that under the new scheme they would be 480; and taking the cost to the State as £125 per annum for each student, these additional numbers alone would mean an additional cost to the State of about £25,000 a year. If the entry were made at seventeen years of age there would be a much wider and superior selection, provided the Admiralty let it be known what class of education would be required at that age. Then at the age of seventeen the constitution, character, and capacity of the youths would be known, which could not possibly be the case with boys of twelve. The hon. and learned Member for Haddington appealed to the great advantages of the children being educated in a naval atmosphere, but I do not think they could be satisfactorily educated, and at the same time pick up as he suggests a secondary education on board a cruiser—even if they had the capacity. They would require the whole of the four 927 years to be devoted exclusively to education. The Admiralty seemed to have made up their mind very suddenly to a particular class of reform, as affecting all entries irrespective of cadets, and when once they seized hold of it they would never let it go. Not only are the Admiralty about to train all their officers from these young children, but they are also determined to train all their artisan ratings from boys, and will not in future apply to the open market. Already they have started building up their naval shipwright ratings from young boys whom they have taken in to train; they are now going to train engine-room artificers from boys also; and very soon the outside skilled working man, or the young apprentice trained outside, will no longer be asked to come into the Navy, which will cease to offer him any career whatever. I think myself that that is dangerous. I think that the outside supply should always be kept going, as certainly the engineer establishments of the country have many advantages over the establishments controlled by the Admiralty, in this respect, that the equipment outside is very much better than the equipment it present possessed by Government establishments, although, no doubt, it is undergoing much improvement.
There are a few question I should like to ask. As regards the Royal Marines, I am glad that they are no longer to be treated, as the Secretary to the Admiralty once expressed it, as the fifth wheel of the coach, but are to have in future a definite recognition. I wish to ask whether they are to have a direct representation on the Board of Admiralty. Nobody emphasised the necessity for that more strongly than the Secretary to the Admiralty when he was in a position of greater freedom and less responsibility. I also want to ask, and this is a matter I have raised many times in this House, whether marine officers are to be allowed to sit-on courts-martial when afloat. There, again, I could quote some very pungent language of the Secretary to the Admiralty when he was sitting below the Gangway only three years ago. Now that changes are going to be brought about, and that the status of the Royal Marines is to be improved, I wish to 928 ask whether these two very important matters are going to be considered. I would also wish to know what is to be the concession as regards the rates of pay of Marine officers.
With all respect, Sir, I submit that this is part and parcel of the scheme as adumbrated in the Memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty.
The Amendment refers only to the scheme of naval training embodied in the Memorandum. It does not refer to everything in the Memorandum.
On a point of order, Sir, I would submit that under this new-scheme the position of Marines will be altogether different; and that these are questions which affect the future status-of the Marines.
In conclusion, I should like to explain that if I have to give a vote, I shall give it against I he Government, not because I disagree with the entire scheme, but solely on the ground that I object to the early-age of entry. My vote must be understood to mean that and nothing more. I am very glad to see that concessions are to be made to the warrant officers, for which some of us have worked hard during the last ten years. The very-first speech I made in this House was to bring forward that particular grievance, which was embodied in what was called "The Warrant Officers' Earnest Appeal." I am certain that it is a good thing to give these sixty commissions to warrant officers, and to advance them to the position of lieutenants. It is not, of course, substantive rank. I am myself in favour of the democratic ideal that every position, from the lowest to the highest, should be open. I am afraid we shall have to wait many years for that, but we are thankful for small 929 concessions as they come along. Another old grievance aired in this House by myself and others, is to be remedied by the concession to the chief petty officers. It only shows that the matters which we have brought forward have had a general element of justice connected with them, as is evidenced by the fact that in course of time they have been conceded, although they may have been originally discounted.
The only other remark I desire to make has reference to the transition stage The men trained under the new scheme will not really take charge of our Fleet for at least a quarter of a century. That is to say, the cadets entering to-day will not be captains for twenty-five years, so that there will be a long interregnum. Therefore, the Admiralty will be well advised to build as much of the new as they can to the old; so that there may be at the right moment a fusion between those serving under the old conditions and those who will be overlapping them, as it were, under the new conditions. It will be interesting to learn from the hon. Gentleman the system by which it is proposed to blend the old system into the new. There are difficulties, no doubt, in this transition stage; but if we are to have a successful scientific Navy, it is urgently necessary to bring this new system of training to bear on the old. Putting aside the strong objections I have to the early age of entry, I wish the Admiralty well; and I have no desire myself to be an opponent of the scheme, except as regards that part of it.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I venture to interrupt at this stage, because I think that inasmuch as there may be many other points cropping up, it will be convenient to deal with them as we go along. I venture to think that generally speaking the discussion has been moderate, helpful, and useful. But I do not know that I can apply these words to the speech of the lion. Member for King's Lynn in moving the Amendment. The speech was a disappointment to me, and gained nothing in my opinion from the personal discourtesies which it contained. There was nothing in that speech which minimised the value of one new scheme for the teaching of officers. My 930 hon. friend asked what had made the necessity of the scheme so suddenly apparent to the Admiralty. I should have thought the answer to that was plain enough. This year coincides with the conclusion of one distinct epoch of our naval system—the epoch which witnessed the change from masts and sails to steam; and I should think that that in itself is sufficient proof that the time has come for the adoption of different methods of teaching. If I may say so, I think it is almost childish for my hon. friend to suggest that the decision of the present Beard of Admiralty to institute an alteration in the system of teaching is a reproach upon former Boards for not having made the change. My hon. friend spoke of Boards of Admiralty of fifteen and sixteen years ago, and suggested that because they did not do what we are doing we condemn them as inefficient and incompetent. But the whole process of the Admiralty is one of evolution, and must always be one of evolution; and if every change that is made in our naval system implies the condemnation of the Boards that had gone before, little will ever be done for the advantage of the Fleet. I agree with my hon. friend in one matter of which he spoke, the position of what he calls our engine-drivers on board ship, though I do not agree with all he says. The scheme does not propose, as my hon. friend has suggested, that every officer in the engineering branch of the service should be a highly qualified engineer. I agree it is not necessary, and it is just because of that that this scheme of training proposes to give a scientific education to a small number of engineer officers. We believe that in a great scientific service like the Navy there is ample room, and must always be ample room, and need for engineers of the highest scientific attainments, but we do not propose that the superintendent of every engine-room shall necessarily be a man possessed of these high qualifications.
Coming to the point which my right lion, friend emphasised with so much force, and which was taken up by my hon. friend opposite, I can assure my hon. friend the Member for Dundee that the arguments ho has advanced against the lowering of the age of entrance for officers have been fully considered and discussed by the Board of 931 Admiralty. When forming its conclusions let me remind the House what the points are. In the first place there is the suggestion that you ought not to take the boys so young—what my right hon. friend calls little boys—and he adduces the arguments of the late Lord Ramsay in support of that contention. But it is not really a question between the ages of twelve and a half years on the one hand, and fourteen and a half years on the other. The point is whether in the Navy you are going to take boys young or old educationally? I hope no one is going to contend that the system Lord Ramsay suggested—
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I think he was a member of the Board which suggested that the age of fourteen and a half should be adopted on board the "Britannia," and it was hoped at the time the age of fourteen and a half years was adopted that the Navy would get the best boys the public schools could produce. But we have not got the best out of the public schools, for the boys are taken away just as they are beginning to obtain the real value of the training in public schools. I do not think anybody is going to dispute the failure of the system of taking boys at fourteen and a half, and, therefore, you have got to decide whether you will make the age of entry eighteen, as my hon. friend opposite suggests, or twelve as we suggest.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
That is sixteen. I think there you would be breaking right into the middle of their public school career. At the age of sixteen he would be just in the middle of his public school career. I can see arguments in favour of entering at eighteen years of age, but I cannot see any in favour of entering at sixteen. But my right hon. friend said why segregate them? Why are you going to give them scholastic education on a ship? There will be no similarity between the Naval College at Osborne, as we intend to establish it, and the 932 "Britannia" as my right hon. friend describes it. The "Britannia" is a school where the course is about eighteen months, and consists of four terms, and where the scholastic subjects are principally taught. There will be two cruisers attached to the College at Osborne, and both at the Naval College at Osborne and on the "Britannia" these boys will receive just that training which will be of most value to young naval officers. There will be machines and appliances for instructing the boys, as far as boys of that age can be instructed, and they can be taught a great deal, in the use of tools and mechanical appliances. They will have their steam launch in which they will go to sea; they will also be taught languages and such other knowledge as is being imparted on the "Britannia." The course will be a three or four years' course, and we shall make it, as we believe, a thoroughly sound and organised training which will be of value to every boy who goes through it. Although we propose to impose practically only a qualifying examination for entering, we desire to introduce much more severe and serious examinations at various stages in the boy's career.
An hon. Member opposite said he did not believe that public opinion would tolerate or concede the introduction of the new principle of allowing boys to be eliminated after they had once entered. But it is not a new principle. It exists at Woolwich, where, as far as I know, it has never been cavilled at, and it exists, in fact, on the "Britannia." But if it be regarded as in any sense invidious at the present time, it will cease to be so when it is understood that it is to be applied as a regular principle after examinations at certain fixed intervals. If it happens that a boy is found not to be physically or mentally capable, or not to have the necessary taste for the service, and is compelled to leave the "Britannia" at any point, he will at any rate be able to prosecute his studies in a public or private school, or in any other direction, with an amount of knowledge and training that he would hardly obtain at equal cost or with equal facilities in any other institution in the United Kingdom. It has 933 been said that you might take these boys from any public school, secondary school, or board school. I will not say a word against what those schools might give; perhaps I am rather sceptical about the knowledge imparted in public schools at the present time. What I will say is that, take the best of them or take the worst of them, I am confident that for naval purposes not one of them can give in two years the amount of knowledge of the kind we require that we should be able to give in one year under our new scheme.
I will deal with one other important question—that of nomination. I do not complain at all of the introduction of that question. On the contrary, I think it would have been a very grave mistake if the debate had been allowed to close without that subject being brought up. It is a very serious thing indeed that for any reason, however good, we should limit in any way the avenues to one of the great public services. But I ask the House whether they do not think the reasons we are able to adduce are good? My hon. friend said that this was an undemocratic arrangement. I object to accepting that as a conclusive argument, though I know he regards the circumstance of any institution being democratic as per se a recommendation. But I agree with him that it is desirable as far as possible to get the whole sweep of national life into any great national concern, but the moment you depart from the principle of open competition you must come to some system of this kind. This is nothing new. For many a year we have obtained I our naval officers by this principle of I nomination. That is no argument in itself, but I ask the House to consider whether we have been well or ill served? Is it true to say that wealth dominates the selections for the Navy, that wealth has acquired an undue influence in the ships, and that only the wealthy have got on in the Navy? I believe that the answer to every one of those points is in the negative. I can bear testimony to the fact that, I do not say the poorest of the poor, but that many men and women who are really poor, have sent their sons into the Navy to the great advantage of the State and of the Service.
934 A point may be made in respect of the fact that we are eliminating the sources of entry through the Royal Marines and the Engineers. I do not know whether hon. Members are aware how very slight is the real difference between the cost of the engineering education in the Navy and that of a cadet in the executive line. There is a difference of £35 a year, but, as the "Britannia" course lasts only four terms, while the course at Keyham lasts five years, it is not possible by taking, the figures for one year to make a comparison between the two. I think it will be found that the difference is very slight indeed. My hon. friend says that this is an undemocratic proceeding, but if that be so I think I have already shown that it is a proceeding which has received the sanction of innumerable Parliaments, and, what is more important, it has received the imprimatur of national approval and the approval of the naval service. If the system is anti-democratic, why is it not scouted and abandoned by She countries professing to be ultra-democratic? With a single exception every navy has found it necessary to exercise some sort of control over the appointment of naval officers. In France, where there is open competition, the result is that they were recently twenty short of the number of officers required, and had to nominate subordinate officers to fill up the vacancies. Is entry into the United States Navy governed by competition? Not at all. How is it fixed? The United States Navy is officered by nomination. And who nominates? Perhaps it will be said by the hon. Member that the system there is better than our own and gives a better choice. We trust the nominations, for good or for evil, to the Board of Admiralty, which is responsible for the welfare of the Navy. In the United States the nominations are entrusted to individual Members of Congress. My view is that nothing at all would be gained for the Navy if every single Member of this House were given a nomination and was bound to attach it to one particular county in the United Kingdom. I mention this not as deriding the United States system, with which I had nothing to do, but as showing that it is not easy to 935 modify the system of nomination. It will have to be accepted in the future as in the past, unless some much stronger reason for its abandonment is shown, as the inevitable consequence of the relinquishment of competition in the earliest stage of the officer's career. My hon. friend the Member for the Shipley Division was in some doubt as to whether the instruction we are giving is sufficient.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the scheme generally will be the same as before.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
There will be nomination of a sufficient number of candidates for the vacancies, with an addition which will cover waste through failure to pass the medical examination, through failure to qualify, and through cadets proving unsuitable afterwards. I am conscious of the gaps in the syllabus of educational training of which we have been reminded to-day, but I will undertake to say that hon. Members, when they have heard my explanation, will agree that we have been wise in leaving these blank spaces. Everything that it was essential to decide we have decided; but in this matter we have felt it necessary to carry public opinion with us, or perhaps I should say instructed, educated and professional opinion with us—in all stages. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge said it was a very serious thing to allow these young officers to go to sea for three years without making proper provision for carrying on their instruction at sea, and I agree with him that this is a very important matter; but I do not think the right hon. Gentleman, if he were to peruse the reports of the results of education at sea, would be very anxious to see the present system prolonged, and the question is not whether we are abandoning anything of very great value, but whether we may not. substitute something better. For the last six months we have been trying experiments in this respect with a training ship, H.M.S. "Isis." A decision on the questions as the carrying on of instruction in a training ship is awaiting the result of 936 more extended experience of the trial now being made with such a ship. Another reason we have not been hasty in formulating some of these proposals with regard to some branches of this curriculum, is that we have been most anxious to submit the whole of the educational direction of this new scheme to a thoroughly competent person. We have felt that it is important that the head of the intellectual part of the Navy should be as competent and conspicuous a person as the head of the department responsible for material construction, and with that view we have approached, and happily approached, a very eminent and distinguished man, and have secured the services of Professor Ewing as Director of Naval Education as a successor to Dr. Niven on his retirement. Those who are acquainted with the scientific world and with the work Professor Ewing has been doing, with the position he holds in the Royal Society, and the position he occupies in the estimation of all men connected not merely with abstract science, but with applied science and mechanics in this country, will consider that we have been fortunate in obtaining the services of one whose work at the University of Cambridge, and whose high place in the esteem of all men for his scientific attainments, prove his knowledge to be, indeed, exceptional.
I do not think I need follow my hon, friend the Member for Devonport into the question of the Marines, because I venture to think it is not quite within the four corners of the Amendment. If I can answer any questions at a later stage I shall be glad to do so. I have devoted myself to the points which have been raised. The Admiralty, for the reasons I have endeavoured to explain, has elected for the earlier age. In regard to the question of nomination I think the Admiralty must be tried and tested by the work done. I think it is most important that they should have in mind what I know is in the mind of the hon. Member opposite, and that is the necessity of so exercising their powers that no members of the community who are reasonably likely to be serviceable in this great profession shall be prevented from 937 entering it, but I am not prepared on behalf of the Admiralty, in view of the circumstances of the case or the experience of the past, to abandon the principle of nomination.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I have attended very closely to all that has been said on this most important subject, and I have heard nothing at all which shakes the two cardinal grounds on which I oppose the scheme of the Government in regard to the training of officers for the Navy. The first of these is the point which has been explained to the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, who, like myself, remembers all the debates and discussions which took place some years ago on this subject, when he was not the representative in this House of a learned body but of a dockyard constituency. I have an objection to taking these boys at so early an age as twelve and a half, making a separate class of them, and endeavouring to inspire them with what is called a sea-character. I have heard nothing to bring home to me the belief that the particular treatment to which they will be subjected by being kept in a college on shore will give them that sea-character; but whether it does so or not, going back to those debates to which I have referred, when we had present in this House several distinguished admirals, I remember that, while there was some difference of opinion among them, I think the predominant feeling was that no prejudice was likely to result to the Navy from future officers being entered at a much more advanced time of life than twelve or fifteen years of age. Putting the question of the early age of cadets aside, I come to another matter which is still more potent in determining my vote on this occasion, and that is the exclusiveness, which is necessarily characteristic, of this scheme. It is almost grotesquely ironical to think that there having been great complaints made—and I believe just complaints—of the treatment, by individuals in the Service, of engineer officers who are now important far beyond what they were some years ago—when there 938 have been complaints that they, from social reasons undoubtedly, for I think it cannot be denied, they were subjected to a manner of treatment which was not likely to conduce to their comfort and therefore not likely to bring the proper sort of men into the service—you should adopt a scheme for getting over that difficulty by means of the extermination of that class of officer altogether, because hitherto engineers have been taken as a rule from the less wealthy and the less leisured classes in, the community. It is not a question of the difference between the very rich and the working man, or the man who lives on a daily wage. The proportion of the population of this country with an income of over £1,000 a year is very small, and the whole of the different strata of society below some figure of that sort are practically excluded by this scheme. Now I think that is a most undesirable state of things, a state of things which would condemn any scheme you might propose.
My hon. friends on both sides of the House have talked of the evils of competition' for boys, and, on the other hand, have declaimed against the system of nomination. I am certainly not in favour of nomination, and, above all, I hope we shall never come to the method referred to by the Secretary to the Admiralty, which he says prevails in the United States Navy. That would be the worst of all. It is not a question of nomination, or of open competition even; it is a question of expense, because a boy is taken at twelve and a half years of age for this long period of educative process for the Navy. We have no statement of estimate, that I am aware of, of what will be the expense of that. There will be, no doubt, heavy expense borne by the public, though part of it undoubtedly will fall upon the parents of the boys themselves; and although the lion. Gentleman has just said that the expense of the "Britannia" is not so severe at present, compared with the engineering college, as people might imagine, lie is going to prolong the course by a period of four or five years, and the whole of that time the pocket of the parents of the boy has to furnish a large portion at all events of the expense. Therefore I regard that as practically 939 prohibitive in respect of 80 or 90 per cent. of the population of the country. That is not a state of things to be contemplated for a moment. It is a systematic specialised education, but in this Paper it is all professed to be given in addition to the ordinary education. Do not let us be misled by the idea of public schools. The whole of the population are not in a position to send their children to great public schools. They get their education nearer home, and perhaps in a more efficient way, and certainly at less expense. I do not see any advantage whatever in the proposals
§ that are made to compensate for the fact that, if this scheme is adopted, you will have stopped two sources of appointment, for officers, viz., the Marines and the Engineers, which are free from these impediments. You will practically have made it impossible for a large portion of the community to have a direct family interest in the upper ranks of His Majesty's Navy.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 200; Noes, 57. (Division List No. 34).941
|Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Walker Col. William Hall|
|Rea, Russell||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Heed, Sir Edw. Jas. (Cardiff)||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C E (Taunton|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W (Stalybridge||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Spear, John Ward||Wilson, J. W. (Worcesterah, N.|
|Robertson, H. (Hackney)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Rotchchild, Hon. L. Walter||Sturt, Hn. Humphrey Napier||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Runciman, Walter||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Valentia, Viscount||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Jeffreys, Rt, Hn. Arthur Fred|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Joicey, Sir James|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Duke, Henry Edward||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Keswick, William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Kimber, Henry|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Faber, George Denison (York)||Knowles, Lees|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Fardell, Sir T. George||Law, Andrew Bonar [Glasgow|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Lawson, John Grant|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Eveskam|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bigwood, James||Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose-||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)|
|Bond, Edward||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Boseawen, Arthur Griffith-||Flower, Ernest||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Forster, Henry William||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Galloway, William Johnson||Malcolm, Ian|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Gardner, Ernest||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.)||Garfit, William||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n|
|Bull, William James||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J. A. (Glasg.)||Gordon, Maj Evans-(Tr. Hmlts||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mitchell, William|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Graham, Henry Robert||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||More, Robt. Jaspet (Shropshire)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J A (Worc||Hain, Edward||Mount, William Arthur|
|Chamberlayne, T. (Southmptn||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bate)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G. (Midx||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy||Myers, William Henry|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Harris, Frederirk Leverton||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hayden, John Patrick||Parker, Sir Gilbert|
|Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Healy, Timothy Michael||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Cranborne, Lord||Heath, James (Staffs. N. W.)||Pemberton. John S. G.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Helder, Angustus||Percy, Earl|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Henderson, Sir Alexander||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Powell, Sir Franc's Sharp|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hobhouse. Rt Hn H (Somrst E||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Purvis, Robert|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Heabert J.||Shackleton, David James|
|Asher, Alexander||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Harwood, George||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Bell, Richard||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Black, Alexander William||Hayter. Rt Hon Sir Arthur D.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)|
|Brigg, John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Caldwell, James||Jacoby, James Alfred||Toulmin, George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Wallace, Robert|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Kearley, Hudson E.||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Charming, Francis Allston||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Wason J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Long, Sir John||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lewis, John Herbert||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Crombie, John William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid)|
|Crooke, William||M'Crae, George||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||O'Brien, P. J. Tippcrary, N.)||Mr. Gibson Bowles and|
|Dunn, Sir William||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Mr. Louth.|
|Edwards, Frank||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ And it being after half-past Seven of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till this evening.