HC Deb 17 March 1903 vol 119 cc1007-67

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £6,312,800, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expenses of Wages, etc., to Officers, Seamen and Boys, Coast Guard, and the Royal Marines, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1904."

*MR. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, E.)

said the Secretary to the Admiralty, in introducing the Estimates, stated that they were of a "magnitude unparalleled in peace or war." That was a very serious statement indeed—probably the most serious ever made with regard to either the Army or the Navy Estimates. He went on to say that— As a citizen, I cannot help sharing the regret, which I am sure every Member of this House must feel, that the bitter competition and rivalry among the nations continues, and makes this enormous, unproductive expenditure a necessary burden. Then, resuming his official character, the Secretary to the Admiralty continued— We (the Board of Admiralty) take no pride in, and have no exultation over, the magnitude of these Estimates. In that, of course, the Committee would entirely agree. No public Department, and no individual official of a Department, could take what would be an unreasonable pride in the magnitude of Estimates simply because of their largeness. But what they did want, and what they did not get, and what they had a right to receive, was some defence or some explanation of the reasons for these enormous Estimates. The hon. Gentleman had admitted that they were of a "magnitude unparalleled in peace or war," and that the increase amounted to over £3,000,000. There were two points he wished to make in regard to that increase. First, the Estimates not only represented much higher figures than had ever before been presented, but a rate of increase quite unprecedented; and secondly, neither in the Estimates nor in the Speech of the Secretary to the Admiralty, nor in the Memorandum of the First Lord had they a complete statement of the whole estimated naval expenditure for the year. Now with regard to his first point, the increase, as he had said, was a very serious one, amounting to over £3,000,000 as compared with last year. It was no less than an increase of 10 per cent., and the Secretary to the Admiralty had himself called attention to the fact that on Vote 8 alone they had an increase of £2,250,000 thereby bringing it up to a figure which was unprecedented in time of peace—i.e., over £17,000,000 for the coming year. And that was not the worst of it. Although there was an increase of 10 per cent, in the whole Estimate, the increase in one important item was very much larger. Last year £700,000 was asked for the building of new ships, but the demand now was for over £1,100,000, an increase of 50 or 60 per cent. Of course our Navy Estimates had been growing rapidly during the last ten years, but never before had they gone up at that rate. The Works Vote showed an increase of 36 per cent, for the present year, and that also had a certain bearing on Vote 8. Surely, in the interesting speech which the hon. Member delivered on the preceding day, he might have made a more specific allusion to the figures he was presenting to the House, and have given special reason for the much more rapid increase than ordinary in the figures. They wanted to ascertain whether anything had occurred, or was occurring, which necessitated that tremendous increase in their expenditure. They ought therefore to have had from the Secretary to the Admiralty, or from some other occupant of the Treasury Bench, some explanation of this sudden and most alarming increase in their naval expenditure.

Not only did they find a more rapid growth in the rate of increase, but they had further to complain that they had not had from the Secretary to the Admiralty a complete statement of what was to be the total naval expenditure for the current year. On the preceding day, at Question time, he asked the hon. Gentleman a question about the introduction of the Naval Works Bill. The hon. Gentleman misunderstood the object of the Question, because he apparently imagined that details were being asked for of a Bill which had not yet been introduced. The object of the Question, however, was to secure some general idea as to what was to be the full naval expendi- ture for the year. He would remind the lion. Gentleman that when Lord Groschen was First Lord of the Admiralty he usually gave information to the House with regard to Naval Works Bills upon two points. First, he used to tell it what had been the issues from the Treasury during the current year, and what there was in hand, and, secondly, he used to say whether there was to be a Naval Works Bill introduced, and, roughly, how much was to be asked for under it. That gave the House an opportunity of knowing in general outline what was to be the amount of naval expenditure. If his memory did not fail him, the system of Naval and Military Works Bills began ten years ago. In 1896, a Naval Works Bill was introduced and passed before the close of the financial year. In subsequent years it was introduced at a fairly favourable period of the Session for the consideration of the House of Commons, but they could not help remembering what took place on the last occasion, in 1901, when both the Naval and Military Works Bills, involving a vast increase of expenditure, and a vast increase of the liabilities of the State, were postponed till the last week of the session, and were only passed on the last Wednesday before the adjournment in the month of August. That was not a fair method of treating the House of Commons or the country. It was particularly important that during the present debate they should have some information upon what the proposals of the Government were with regard to naval expenditure outside the Estimates, because they had before them, in the memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty, which they were also considering that day, a statement upon various other subjects connected with naval organisation and the improvement of the Navy, which, undoubtedly, would involve a further increase of naval expenditure. Upon that, the Secretary to the Admiralty said not a single word on the previous day, and there was nothing in the Estimates nor in the figures given in the Memorandum of the First Lord from which they could get the information the Committee ought to have before it.

He would refer particularly to the proposed new dockyard and naval base in the Firth of Forth, The Secretary to the Admiralty on the preceding day implied that the money required for that would be provided in the Naval Works Bill. But he held that the House of Commons ought to have on that occasion—which was the proper occasion for it to express its views generally on the naval policy of the Government—some idea of what was the estimated expenditure upon that most important work. In the First Lord's Memorandum they were told that the necessity for creating that new dockyard and naval base was caused by the congestion of accommodation both for ships and men at the home ports, due to the recent increase of the Fleet. He would like to ask: Was that the only reason? Was it really not only the only reason, but was it the most important reason? He did not wish to ask for information which it might be thought wiser in the general interests of the country to withhold. But he did think that Ministers would act wisely if when they desired the country to embark on a certain new line of policy, and particularly one which involved a largely increased expenditure, they, as far as they possibly could, took the House of Commons and the country into their confidence by stating the reasons for their policy, and explaining the increased burden which would have to be borne in consequence of its adoption. He did not pretend to-be able to express any opinion on the naval or strategical side of the question. He was no expert in these matters, but on the general subject of establishing a dockyard and naval base in the Firth of Forth, he might say that, to his mind, it certainly had one recommendation, and that was that it was going to be established in his own country. It would be a good thing for the Navy if they had more Scotchmen in it. Long before this new naval base was thought of, he had argued that they did not recruit their Navy from a sufficiently wide field, and he had again and again pointed out that they did not make use of the admirable material which was available in Scotland amongst the fishing populations along the East coast. He hoped that the policy which was now being adopted would result in Scotchmen taking a greater interest in the Navy and filling its ranks, both among the officers and men. That he believed would be a very good thing for the Navy. But his chief object that day was to get at the pounds shillings and pence side of the question. Let him return for a moment to the reason alleged by the Government in the First Lord's Memorandum for establishing this new dockyard. That reason was the congestion of accommodation in our home ports. Upon that subject the Secretary to the Admiralty, in his speech on the preceding day, incidentally made a few remarks, when he pointed out that the same difficulty was felt in other quarters, and that that was the cause of so much work being put out to contract. They had it also, in the Memorandum of the First Lord, that, owing to the great pressure of work in the dockyards, contractors had been asked to complete ships for commission in their own yards. He was not qualified to express an opinion on that subject, but he would like to point out that that entailed a considerable increase in our expenditure, and a considerable addition to the staff borne on the Estimates.The First Lord of the Admiralty pointed out how the Comptroller's Department must necessarily be increased; and they found also that the Works Department had very largely increased, which was directly due to the new scheme which had been adopted. With reference to the increase in the Works Vote, it amounted to over £400,000 or about 36 per cent.

MR. PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Woodbridge)

said that was accounted for to a certain extent by the interest on the loans.

*MR. BUCHANAN said that was precisely the point which he was about to make. £200,000 was due to the increase in the annuities for the extinction of the loans already raised under the Naval Works Act. Did not that point the moral of how careful they ought to be in agreeing to the introduction of further Naval Works Loans Bills, entailing further large expenditure.

*SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

asked, on a point of order, if it were in order to discuss the question of works on the Vote for wages.


The hon. Gentleman would not be in order in going into details; but there was an agreement last night that there should be a general discussion on the Vote.

*MR. BUCHANAN said he had no intention of going into details; but he merely wished to emphasise his contention that when they were considering the naval expenditure of the country, it was important that they should consider the whole expenditure of the year, including the expenditure under the Naval Works Act. The point he wished to make was that the Committee ought to realise from this increase in the Works Vote of over £200,000 for terminable annuities under the Naval Works Act how much might be their contingent liability under other Works Acts. At present, their liability was a very serious one. Taking the Navy and Army Estimates together, the House of Commons was now voting no less than £1,000,000 per annum under the Military and Naval Works Acts for the extinction of these loans. At the time this policy of Military and Naval Works Bills was introduced, they were told it was largely to ease the weight on the Works Vote year by year. Now they were beginning to realise that the period of easing the Works Vote was past, and that that Vote would continue to very largely increase in future years. All the considerations that he had been endeavouring to lay before the Committee pointed to this general conclusion, that the proposals of the Government brought home to them the thought they were apt to forget, but which Ministers should never forget, and that was that they could not add to the Fleet largely at an ordinary rate, still less could they add to it at an extraordinary rate, without increasing the expenditure in almost every Department of the Navy. He would emphasise that point by quoting what Lord Goschen said when he was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1896. Lord Goschen said he would remind the House of Commons of the truism which was too often ignored, that any increase in the Fleet meant not only an increase in the number of ships, but must be followed all along the line of naval preparation by expenditure in other directions. More ships, he said, meant more officers, more engineers, more stokers, and more ratings of every kind. On the present occasion, above all others, the Committee should bear in mind the words used by Lord Goschen.

The First Lord of the Admiralty justified the establishment of a now dockyard in the North, on the ground that the existing accommodation in the present dockyards was not sufficient. That surely meant that they had increased the Fleet in the past at a more rapid rate than the accommodation for the Fleet permitted. Yet the present Government were proposing to increase the Fleet at a much more rapid rate than in the past, with the result that they would find themselves confronted, in the immediate future, with a still more congested state of accommodation in their dockyards. He did not want to prophesy, still less to express anything like an expert opinion on the Estimate; but so far as he had been able to examine the Estimates, and having read the Memorandum of the First Lord of the Admiralty, and having heard the speech of the Secretary to the Admiralty, he ventured to express the opinion that the expenditure which the Committee was now being asked to commit itself to, would entail consequential expenditure which might amount to £5,000,000 or £10,000,000 per annum. They would then have hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentle men on the Treasury Bench telling them that on the 17th March, 1903, they committed themselves to the general proposals then laid before the House of Commons; and that the further increase was only, in official language, a normal, or automatic, or inevitable increase.

Could anything be done to stop this increase of expenditure or to diminish it? That was the great difficulty. There was one proposal, a very small one, which he ventured to think was not politically a very wise one. That was the proposal made in certain quarters, and not confined to one side of the House, that they should endeavour to get, by more or less political pressure, contributions for the Navy from the Colonies. He did not believe in the wisdom of pressure being exerted on self-governing Colonies. What was spontaneously offered they could accept; but could anyone honestly say, after reading the discussions at the Colonial Conference, that the contributions offered had been spontaneously offered? The appropriations-in-aid in the Estimates, including Colonial contributions, amounted to something like £400,000 a year. The note appended was of great importance, because it showed that the most important of these contributions, that was to say, the contributions by the Commonwealth of Australia, had not yet received the sanction of the Commonwealth Parliament. There were other contributions, particularly those from Newfoundland, which we had not yet got, and he desired to offer a protest against entering in these Estimates figures like these which were not substantially settled. He was strongly of opinion that it would be a great mistake to press the Colonies in any way for any contribution towards our Navy. If they looked after the military defence of their own country, that was all they should be asked to do; and we were the last people in the world to endeavour to put financial pressure upon them for a contribution for the Navy or any other purpose to the home Government. The people who have the glory should bear the burden of the Empire.

This was really no new question; we had had during the last fifty or sixty years the expenditure for the Army and Navy alternately increasing and decreasing; we were subject to scares and fits of fever followed by cold fits. These alterations in the political temperature were not good either in the interests of the Navy, or the Army, or in the interests of taxation. Sir Robert Peel dealt with this Question in 1841. He then said— Is not the time come when the powerful countries of Europe should reduce those military armaments which they have so sedulously raised? Is not the time come when they should he prepared to declare that there is no use in such over-grown establishments? What is the advantage of one Power gradually increasing its army or navy? Does it not see that if it proposes such increase for self-protection and defence, the other Powers would follow its example? The consequence of this state of things must be that no increase of relative strength will affect any one Power, but there must be a universal consumption of the resources of every country in military preparations. They are, in fact, depriving pence of half its advantages and anticipating the energies of war whenever they may he required. I do not mean to advocate any romantic notion of each nation trusting t security to the professions of its neighbour, but if each country were to commune with itself and ask what is at present the danger of foreign invasion compared with the dangers of producing dissatisfaction and discontent am curtailing the comforts of the people by undue taxation, the answer must be this—that the danger of aggression is infinitely less than tin danger of those sufferings to which the present exorbitant expenditure must give rise. Sir Robert Peel then went on to urge negotiations with the Government of France, which was the country he had in his mind with a view to getting them to consent to a reduction of the military and naval armaments of that day. He (Mr. Buchanan) now urged that the time had come when the present Government should make an attempt in this direction. The Government must be conscious of the growing dissatisfaction of the country with regard to this constantly growing expenditure, and of the feeling which would become much more vocal of opposition which had begun to be felt towards it. It would be worth their while in their own political interests, and the financial interests of the country, to endeavour to enter into some such negotiations as were suggested by Sir Robert Peel in 1841.

*SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

hoped there would be no attempt made to defer either the Naval or Military Works Bill until late in the session this year. The House should be allowed to deal with such Bills when it could give its time to them, and when there was not that hurry which led to votes being given without adequate discussion. He believed that had the House had time in past years to reflect upon those matters, much of the money voted in the Military and Naval Defence Bills would never have been expended. He took exception to the suggestions of the hon. Member who had just sat down with regard to the Colonies. He protested against the tenor of such a speech at a time when the state of things which now existed obviously could not last, and when this question must be faced. The hon. Gentleman, having deprecated the idea of the Colonies being asked for any contribution, had stated that the people of these islands were alone to be responsible for all the expenditure of the Empire because they had all the glory; but did not the whole of the Empire share with the people of these islands all the advantages? Of course they did, and it was preposterous to say that though they shared in the glory they must not share the burden. The burden of the defence of the British Empire must be borne by the British people wherever they were domiciled. The Empire and its defence should be looked at as a whole. The interests of the British people, not merely the interests of the people of the United Kingdom, were at stake. He had sufficient confidence in the good sense of the British people in the Colonies to believe that rather than weaken, abandon, or jeopardise the British position on the sea, they would do their duty and contribute their fair share to the maintenance of that which was essential to their existence, not only as parts of the Empire but even as separate communities. He therefore protested against the tone adopted by the hon. Member opposite; it was calculated to do an infinity of harm. The Colonies were beginning to realise their position, and to change their attitude on this matter; and this House ought to encourage them rather than suggest that the British people were confined to these two islands.

As to general naval policy, he had very few observations to make. The Admiralty were showing a wisdom calculated to increase the strength of the Navy, and to combine strength with economy. He believed the scheme which had already been discussed to be a wise and statesmanlike scheme. The internal organisation of, and the method of training in, a great machine such as the Navy, could not be made perfect all at once, and though the scheme certainly appeared to be revolutionary to old admirals who served before the days of steam, it was revolutionary only because the inevitable changes had not been made in time. Thirty years ago-anybody who suggested the possibility of a change in the organisation or training of the Navy was looked upon as being outside the pale of all respect. Machinery and science had been advancing, and the Admiralty, which had not moved with the times, had now recognised the fact, with the result that this scheme had been introduced. But while the method, as a whole, was wise, he thought the Admiralty had perhaps been unduly quick with regard to the engineers' branch. His advocacy had always been in favour of a common training up to the age of twenty, and it was only in April, 1900, that the present Lord Goschen declared that his advocacy of it was a revolutionary suggestion, and assured him that such a scheme could never be carried out. That showed how quickly the present Admiralty had moved. He had always desired, as a preliminary stage, to see the engineers organised into a Royal Naval Engineer Corps; they would then have presented the matter exactly as the; Marines now did. The Admiralty, how-ever, had swallowed the whole thing, and he commended them for their pluck, and gave them credit for boldly facing a problem which had been too long neglected, The change would give rise to a great deal of difficulty and some little friction during the transition stage; he hoped, therefore, the Admiralty would do all they could to arrange matters so as to cause the least possible difficulty and unpleasantness to the existing executive-branch. The lieutenants in the Navy had a very hard time with regard to promotion and other matters, and their burden would be increased during the transition period. It had been the custom, when lieutenants had not been fortunate enough to obtain their pro-motion within a reasonable time, to give them this and that comfortable billet to enable them to serve their complete time and get their full pension.

He congratulated the Admiralty on arranging for the promotion of warrant officers to the rank of lieu-tenant, but he desired to know whether the sixty appointments to be made available for the men so promoted were to be obtained by denying to the lieutenants of the Navy the appointments they had looked forward to in lieu of promotion. There had been much conflict of opinion with regard to the age of entry. It had to be acknowledged that that point had always been the subject of much conflict of opinion in the Service, but it had also to be acknowledged that they knew from experience what they got from the young entry. For his own part, he did not believe, the present naval officers could be beaten. They did not know, however, what they would get by the later entry at seventeen. They had now on board ship young officers of marine artillery under twenty of proved abilities, who had passed all sorts of educational tests, and had some sea experience; they had, therefore, the materials to hand for trying the effect of a late entry system and for facilitating the operation of the scheme, and he suggested that the Admiralty would thus hasten the Co-ordination of the different branches of the Navy if they recognised the existence of a considerable body of opinion in favour of late entry, and endeavour to work that existing material into the proposed system. On the whole, his attitude towards the Admiralty and their policy was one more of appreciation than of criticism, and they had shown a commendable breadth of view. There were, however, certain matters which could be better treated on the Construction and other Votes, and he would defer his further observations until that Vote was reached.

SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

said that if this debate was to be conducted only in reference to technical matters he should not have presumed to take part in it. He did not pretend to have familiarity with the subjects involved in the Estimates and Papers presented by the First Lord of the Admiralty. This year, however, there was a very important financial side to this question, and he thought it was their duty to very carefully consider and realise what was the nature of the accumulating and ever-increasing burden created by these Estimates upon the country. They ought to do this without any recrimination, for they all recognised that there was a limit in regard to naval expenditure beyond which the country would not go. These Estimates had shown an increase of a kind which might fairly be described as alarming. He was, however, not prepared to oppose these Estimates by vote. He supposed that although they had not yet been disclosed, the Government had reasons for coming down to the House and taking the heavy responsibility of advising the Committee to adopt this enormous sum of money. He recognised that naval estimates were different from military estimates, because every sensible man must know that the Navy was the one great source of strength and safety to this country. Therefore, he should not like the responsibility of opposing these Estimates. But although that was the case, under the circumstances he thought they were all at liberty to offer strong criticism while the country was comparatively quiescent, for if they did not make some effort to restrict this unnecessary increased expenditure in the future, they might find themselves some day brought up short, and injudicious economy might be imposed whether they liked it or not.

The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had stated that he was prepared to support further increases in the Estimates for the Navy, and he said such increases were inevitable. The new naval base would lead to increased expenditure. They were now being asked for £34,500,000, but they must look forward to constantly increasing expenditure upon the Navy; and consequently a time would come when the purpose of the Government would be frustrated by the excess of the Vote they were obliged to demand. Therefore they should realise this now, and as far as their voices would penetrate they should try and make known what the actual increase amounted to. This year for the first time, in round, figures, £34,500,000 was asked for in these Estimates to meet the Navy expenditure. In 1894 the total was £17,750,000, or nearly double within a period of nine years. That was the position which was presented to the Committee. They had not been told the reason why, since last-year, there had been a proposed increase of £3,000,000. Also they did not know the full amount of the naval expenditure. They did not know what the Naval Works would be any more than they knew what amount would be required for Military Works. He hoped the Government would not postpone until the end of the session communicating to the House what increased expenditure would be required for Naval Works. He wished to point out that this £34,500,000 was not final, but would lead to further increased expenditure—and that was the financial situation.

Although there was an enormous increase in the Estimates this year, there was no reason to suppose that it represented any relative increase in their naval strength. He had before him the increase of the cost of the Navy in France, Russia, and Germany. He was not speaking of the relative strength in gunnery or in the number of ships, for those were branches in which he was not proficient. But, nevertheless, he understood figures, and the outlay voted in each of these countries would correspond with the increase of strength. While this country in the ten years from 1894 to 1904 rose from an expenditure of £17,750,000 to £34,500,000, France had increased from £10,750,000 up to £12,250,000; Russia from £6,100,000 to £10,341,000; and Germany had increased from £3,250,000 right up to £10,500,000. If they might judge from the sums of money what was the corresponding increase in the strength of the different navies, this country had not substantially added, or had not, in fact, added at all, to her strength, but had somewhat diminished it. Judged by that standard, all that happened was—as was stated by Sir Robert Peel—that when you had a great naval programme in one country it provoked competition, which almost made it unsafe for other countries to remain without making a corresponding increase; they would enter upon a useless competition in the expenditure of money upon something which, after all, was unproductive. He believed the same lesson would be enforced by these Estimates, although he did not in the least wish to say anything against the importance of being prepared for all that was necessary; and things being as they were, the, Government were entitled to ask the Committee to support them in this outlay for this year. He thought, however, that in the end it would lead to a revolt against what seemed to be an unending burden.

What could be done to remedy this? His hon. friend had referred to the contribution from the Colonies. He should not like to say that the self-governing Colonies would be likely to increase the small sum which they now contributed for the defence of the Empire. He thought they would, and he thought they ought to do so, but he should not like to put upon them any undue or unfair pressure. He could not help remembering the history of 1754 down to 1774, when one of the things which led to the ill-feeling and constant irritation between the thirteen Colonies of America and this country was this very question of a contribution towards the cost of liberating those thirteen Colonies from the hideous outrages perpetrated all along their borders under the direct instigation of the French. The small claim of this country for a contribution towards the great expense incurred there was well founded, yet at the same time history showed that irritation and annoyance was caused because this country threatened to enforce a contribution by force of arms.


Yes, but without offers of representation.

SIR ROBERT REID said if his lion, and gallant friend would look up the matter he would find that there was not an indisposition to give representation to the American Colonies in return for their contribution. He did not think they ought to go beyond what was said at the time of the Colonial Conference by the Colonial Secretary in regard to the duty of our Colonies to contribute towards Imperial defence. He did not believe that the present contribution, amounting to something like £300,000, would be substantially increased. He believed that it ought not to be entered as an asset until they knew that the Colonies had consented to vote it. The point was that the people of this country must realise—and it would be a mistake to mislead them by a vain hope—that for some time to come, and probably for a long time to come, this country would have to bear the cost alone of those immense armaments. That was the prospect before them, and they ought to realise it, and not delude themselves that they were going to receive contributions from any quarter from which they were not to come.

MR. YERBURGH (Chester)

said that ten branches of the Navy League had been formed in Canada.

SIR ROBERT REID thanked his hon. friend for the information, and said he sincerely hoped that all the branches of the Navy League in Canada and elsewhere would prosper in this particular point of obtaining contributions if they could. He thought we were justly asking for them, but he was dealing with probabilities and not with hopes and aspirations. He did not think any sensible man could look forward to any great contribution in this direction. It rested therefore upon our own people. While colonial governments were bound in duty to safeguard the interests of their own people according as they thought their true interests lay, so we, while not by any means ignoring our wider interests, were bound to look to the interests of our own people, who were specially legislated for in this House. They ought not to lose any chance they had of diminishing their expenditure. Therefore he hoped that there might be some encouragement given to the idea which his hon. friend the Member for East Perthshire put forward, namely, what Sir Robert Peel suggested, that they should enter into friendly negotiations with other nations. After all, there were only three of them in this race of naval expenditure. He did not speak of the United States of America, because the United States stood in a peculiar and different position from all the other countries. The United States had no naval base in Europe, or within 3,000 miles of Europe. He believed the United States would always remain an American Power, holding aloof as much as possible from European matters. But there were France, Russia, and Germany, and since we started these countries had all enormously increased their naval expenditure. Germany had nearly trebled its expenditure in ten years: Russia had not far from doubled its expenditure; and France had made a large increase. It seemed to him that these great Powers were primarily and chiefly military Powers, and they had an enormous drain on their resources through the vast military establishments they had to keep up. It could not be supposed that efforts would be wholly fruitless if they were made with the view of coming to some understanding with them with reference to this matter of naval armaments. No man could command success, but there was no reason why it should not be attempted, and instead of exulting in the enormous power of our Navy—in which he indulged himself, soberly he hoped—for its own sake, he thought they should all recognise it as a means to an end—the safety of our commerce, our possessions, and ourselves. We ought not to spend more money than we could help on it, and we ought to limit our expenditure so far as we could by friendly understandings arrived at with other great Powers with whom alone we were likely to come into conflict.

SIR FORTESCUE FLANNER (Yorkshire, Shipley)

said it was somewhat difficult to understand the issue which the hon. and learned Gentleman had put to the House and the country. He seemed to suggest that some arrangement should l>e made between this country and the other great Powers by which a limitation of naval armaments might be arranged. But there was one special case which the hon. and learned Gentleman had not mentioned, and that was the means by which he would ensure that the parties to the agreement should observe their share of it. If this millennial proposition, which he ventured to call the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member, was possible they should not appeal to suggestions made sixty-two or sixty-three years ago, when the conditions were very different from what they were at the present time. If this millennial proposition was capable of having practical effect, why should it not be possible between France, Germany and Russia in their military competition, which was draining their life-blood more than naval expenses were affecting this country. Could it be supposed that the statesmen of these three continental nations would not bring about such an arrangement were it practicable or possible to do so? A fact which the hon. and learned Gentleman ignored was, that sums of money—he spoke with some knowledge of this matter—were devoted to naval preparation in Russia which did not appear in the Estimates at all, and if that was possible in the present state of things, how easy it would be, even with the knowledge we possessed of what was going on in foreign countries, for secret naval preparations to be made by any one nation which made itself a party to such an agreement. The first part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech seemed to be an attack upon this large naval expenditure, but he had not the courage to say that he condemned it. He seemed to be laying a foundation on which he would be able to say at some future day that he condemned this expenditure. He did not say that he would take the responsibility of reducing it.


I said that I could not, nor can any man, tell what may be the reasons of policy which lead the Government to make a claim of this kind. If I were a member of the Government and knew their secrets, it would be a different thing. It is a very, strong thing to take the responsibility of refusing to vote what the Government asks. It was not with any mean view that I spoke of the increase of the expenditure.

SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY said-he was not in the least suggesting a mean view on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman. What he suggested was that the hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to be willing to condemn the Estimates, but not to take the responsibility of publicly proposing a reduction of them. The fact was that other countries were indulging in what has been called "this insane competition with respect to naval armaments," and those who were responsible for the defence of this country had no choice but to make a corresponding increase in the strength of our Fleet. The speech of the Secretary to the Admiralty yesterday, the Memorandum issued by the First Lord recently, and the Estimates themselves, would be accepted by the-country not in a spirit of boastfulness, but as showing that the Admiralty was breathing a spirit into its policy of wholesome and reasonable activity. Some hon. Members had occasion to call the Admiralty to account in former years for want of sufficient naval preparation. He did not think that any such suggestion could be made now, because both with regard to personnel and matériel, the Admiralty seemed to be alive to nearly every requirement that modern science demanded. No one who had spoken in the debate had pointed to a single item of this expenditure that was unnecessary. He was glad to see that there was a large increase in cruisers. There was a certain school of naval thought which suggested that the days of battleships were practically over, and that what was required, especially with regard to our food supply, was a large number of cruisers. A Royal Commission on our food supply would sit very shortly, and no doubt it would take fully into its purview the question of keeping the seas clear in regard to the transport of our food. But in the meantime, without waiting for the views of that Commission the Admiralty were adding in a larger proportion than they had hitherto done to the Estimates for the construction of new cruisers. At the present moment there were no less than twenty-five cruisers of various sizes under construction.

This debate appeared to have turned very largely on the question of the Colonial contribution, both in men and in money, to the Navy. He did not think that sufficient importance had been attached to the fact that in the Colonies actual preparation had already begun. It was said by the First Lord that the Board were glad to be able to announce that, with the assistance of the Colonial Government, the Newfoundland branch of the Royal Naval Reserve had been fairly started. It was true that the contributions both in men and money which had been secured from other Colonies were small in themselves, but the great point was that the principle had been established, and the education of the Colonies on this point was proceeding apace. It was becoming as much recognised in the Colonies as in this country that, for good or ill, we must in naval as well as in other affairs, stand or fall together. Recent experience in South Africa had proved that in case the necessity arose, the Colonies might furnish as large a contribution of men accustomed to sea life as they had made of men for military service. But there must be organisation, and there were many signs in the programme of the Admiralty which showed that attempts were being made to co-ordinate the naval arrangements between the mother country and the Colonies to the fullest extent to which the latter would consent. Of course it must be by agreement, as in the case of Australia, where a certain number of ships were provided, partly paid for by the mother country and partly by the Colonies, but on the condition that the ships should be tied to the coast of Australia. This latter arrangement should be put an end to, because the Colonies must learn to understand—as he believed they would shortly do—that the use of a Navy was for the general defence of the Empire, that ships should be sent wherever they were required, and that the mere hugging of a particular coast by warships did not add to the security of the colony in any shape or form, but paralysed the general scheme of protection.

There was another matter to which too little allusion had been made, but which was of great Imperial importance in the new naval programme. That was the proposed naval base in the Forth. No doubt the dockyards were congested, as had been said by the hon. Member for East Perthshire, but he took a diametrically opposite view from the hon. Member as to what the deduction should be from that congestion; that was to say, that the dockyards should be relieved by the formation of an additional naval base and not by the reduction of naval preparations as proposed by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark. He supported the suggestion of the hon. Member that this naval base on the Forth should be extended and connected with the great ship-building yards on the Clyde by means of a canal across country. That was not a proposition put forward for the first time, but he called the attention of the Admiralty to the fact that the sea route from the Clyde round the North of Scotland to the German Ocean was one of the most dangerous and difficult for navigation within the compass of the British Isles. Therefore, if this connection were made, its strategic advantages would more than counterbalance any disadvantages, including necessary expenditure. In regard to the new scheme for training officers for the Navy, it would, he insisted, be necessary to make a higher payment to the engineers than to other officers, because they would have, to some extent, the distinction which at present existed by which the SODS of families who had large private means would gravitate naturally towards the executive branch. According to the Memorandum, there would be a certain amount of choice, but he would point out to the Admiralty that in maturing their scheme a larger scale of pay should be given to the engineer officers, who would stand much in relation to executive officers as officers in Line regiments did to officers in the Cavalry and the Guards, and if the engineer officers were unable to live on their pay they would be unable to maintain their position in the exercise of their profession with dignity.

There were many subjects in the speech of his hon. friend which deserved the most careful consideration of the House, and some to which exception might be taken. One of the latter had reference to the Intelligence Department. According to the Estimates, seven additional officers were to be placed on the staff'. He did not know exactly how many officers there were in the Intelligence Department at the present time, but he knew that the amount of organisation in some foreign navies, and particularly that of Germany, was such as hon. Members who had not studied the question could hardly believe. The very telegrams which were necessary in case of the mobilisation of the fleet were written, and every possible preparation, to the smallest office duty, was organised by the Intelligence Department, arranged in dossiers, each in its own portfolio. Every possible combination had been provided for. For instance, if war were to break out between Germany and one or two nations, or if Germany was in alliance with another nation, everything was already worked out in detail. He ventured to say that in the British Admiralty they had not attained to anything like that amount of preparation. It was true that the gentlemen at the Admiralty were trying to arrange that as little as possible should be left for decision after war broke out. That was the right note, and the right system of preparation, but whether it was to be attained by appointing so capable and intelligent an officer as had recently been appointed, and by giving him a comparatively limited addition to his staff, he could not say. He urged on the Admiralty that the Intelligence Depart- ment might be worth a whole squadron at a critical moment if it were carefully organised.

Like the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth, he was oppressed with the number of subjects on which he could speak before this naval question was finally put to rest for the remainder of the session, but before sitting down he wished to emphasise once more a subject which had been debated during the past seven or eight years, and on which his. hon. friend the Member for Gateshead, although sitting on different sides of the House, took the same view as himself. He referred to the boiler question. There was undoubtedly dissatisfaction that so-large a proportion of ships under construction were being fitted with water-tube boilers, the inefficiency of which had been shown, instead of with dependable, reliable, circular boilers. The First Lord said in his Memorandum that these water-tube boilers would give on a given displacement a larger protective and fighting power to the ships because they were of less weight, and the weight saved could be utilised for guns and armaments. That might be so if the boilers were effective, but when it was found that they were unreliable as regarded endurance and consumed a larger amount of coal, where was the effective gain? The coal question could not be separated from the boiler question, and he did feel that although the Admiralty were going in the direction his hon. friend and himself would desire in gradually abolishing this new and dangerous type of boiler, they were, in order to save their faces, not progressing as rapidly as he and his friend would wish to see. Taking the Estimates as a whole, he believed they would be regarded by the country as absolutely necessary, notwithstanding their immense size. We were breaking the record as regarded new construction. Ten million pounds was the largest amount ever asked for in the history of the House or the country for new construction, but it was, he considered, a wise expenditure. There was much doubt in the House—no one could say how much—as to the wisdom of the large expenditure on the Army, but there was not one on that side of the House, and very few on the other, who had any doubt as to the wisdom of the naval expenditure which the country was asked to sanction. The hon. Member for Northampton made a gesture of dissent. He no doubt would object to every expenditure, but few Members of this House would object to this programme of the Admiralty in order to complete our naval defence. The programme this year embraced fourteen battle-ships, thirty-two cruisers, thirty-four destroyers, and thirteen submarines; an immense number of ships to be dealt with in one year. That was a programme such as this country had never yet seen, but it was a programme which, in his opinion, was necessary in order to ensure the peace of the world.

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

said of the multifarious questions which they might discuss on an occasion like this, there was only one he proposed to deal with. That was the question that had been raised by four of his hon. friends on that side of the House—the question of the amount of these Estimates. The hon. Member for Dumfries had differed from the other three gentlemen to whom he had referred by the fact that he, most properly, had put before the House the joint consideration of the expenditure for the Army and the Navy. The hon. Member for Islington on the previous night, and the hon. Member for Perthshire this afternoon in his most able speech had said nothing, had not even made the one little reference which they might have made to the military expenditure of the country. The hon. Member for Dumfries had told the House that it was impossible this year to distinguish between the two Estimates and consider them separately and apart. He found himself this year for the first time forced to vote for a reduction of the Army Estimates, but he was certain that those who gave that vote would have hesitated to have given it except for the joint consideration of what would be the future Estimates of the two services to which his hon. friend had alluded in his speech. As he personally thought, this naval expenditure was infinitely more necessary than the military expenditure. He must ask the House to consider, so far as it was right to consider, the grants which they had made to the Government. At the present time there were a large number of Parliamentary elections pending, and it was a curious fact that of the three now immediately pending, the candidates on both sides had adopted the same attitude upon this subject. Take the election in Surrey. He had received the election addresses of both the candidates, and he noticed that they both declared that, in the present circumstances of the country, they would support the large Naval Estimates, and that they would also support the reduction in the Army Estimates. That was the real judgment of the country. The country was really weighing these two sides of the national expenditure, and while they were prepared to trust the Government as regards the Fleet, which led, as he frankly admitted, to a larger expenditure in the future, they were not prepared to accept the military expenditure in the same way.

The hon. Members for Perthshire and Dumfries had suggested something in the nature of negotiations with the Powers, but it ought not to be forgotten that Mr. Goschen, when First Lord of the Admiralty, did make a proposal of that kind on two occasions in this House. On one occasion when he submitted his first programme, and on another in the following July, Mr. Goschen stated in those diplomatic phrases which all understood that certain ships had been built owing to the action of Russia, and he told the House that he was prepared to withdraw those ships if he had an assurance from the other side that the ships building there would also be withdrawn. So far as it was possible to go it was possible we might get France to go with us, because she also was now governed by principles of economy; but he agreed with his hon. friend who had just spoken that it would be a most dangerous thing for this country to come to a binding understanding as to these matters. He could not but fear that anything in the nature of a binding arrangement on this subject would lead to what might be termed a breach of faith, which would very likely provoke a war. While he considered with the hon. Member for the Shipley Division of Yorkshire that it would be unwise and unsafe to enter into a binding arrangement, he at the same time thought something might be done by England and France upon the line suggested by Mr. Goschen. The hon. Member for Dumfries was, as was he himself, opposed to all aggressive policies on the part of this country, but he was sure that the hon. Member for Dumfries felt that our naval policy and programme of expenditure, vast as it was, was not of an aggressive character; that there was in the minds of the people of this country and the Government of this country no purpose of aggression. When the hon. Member for the Shipley Division said there were none on that side and very few on this who would support a reduction, that did not include the Military Estimates It was necessary for us to face that, and argue the question of whether the Estimates of this year should be actually reduced as he had no doubt the hon. Member for Northampton would propose to reduce them.

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, in the speech he made at Bristol made the somewhat crude suggestion that the Shipbuilding Vote of this year should be a stereotype of the Shipbuilding Vote of the last year, and at the same time it must be presumed he allowed that the military Vote should be as large as the military Vote of last year. But the debates of this year had fully secured to the House the large naval Estimates of this year accompanied by a reduction of the military expenditure in the Army. Could anybody, who watched the House and watched the constituencies, doubt but that the victory had been won, and that the Estimates for next year would show that the lesson had been learnt and change had been made owing to these debates. Last year, the programme to which Sir M. Hicks-Beach referred was complained of as being a short programme; it was a programme which did not keep us in our proper position as compared with other Powers. Would anyone assert that we had passed the point at which our squadrons were to stand? The Mediterranean Fleet has been increased from ten to thirteen battleships. The Channel Squadron had not been increased but had been strengthened in the quality of the ships, and it was in future to consist of eight battleships. The Home Squadron was one on which we could not look with pride, and until that squadron had been greatly strengthened in the quality of its ships, we could not be fully satisfied that the ends had been reached. He quite agreed that this expenditure would have to be borne by ourselves, and that we could not reasonably expect in the immediate future the contributions from the Colonies which the hon. Member for Dundee and the hon. Gentleman opposite suggested. He would go further and say that any contribution we did receive, or which we had bargained for, at the Colonial Conference was not worth having. The military contribution of the Colonies at the time of the war was of enormous value, but the naval contribution was not worth having, because we were bound to spend the money in the Colonies, the ships were tied to the Colonies, and the whole policy of the Admiralty had been to bring these squadrons home and reduce their numbers, except upon such stations as the China station whore there were local dangers. The Admiralty had been driven, as he thought unwillingly, into a compromise with regard to the Australian Squadron, which was not of much use, because it suggested to us to get our sailors in Australia, where the wages of seamen were prohibitive. The Committee could not realise what money Australians expected for services of this kind. The pay of the first New South Wales Contingent was 10s. per man per day; but they brought an action for 4s. 6d. extra, and it was regarded as a very fair and proper arrangement. The ordinary rate of pay to seamen was such that he thought they could not look for any contribution in men from the Colonies, except Newfoundland, to the Fleet.

His hon. friend the Member for Dundee seemed to suggest in his speech yesterday that they were putting before the country and the Committee a standard higher than in past years. His hon. friend was a member of Lord Spencer's Board, and he thought his hon. friend would admit that the standard which Lord Spencer gave to this House was not a fleet equivalent to three fleets—not a fleet certainly on all points equivalent to the fleets of France, Germany, and Russia—but a standard which gave us such a position in the world of fleets as would cause three Powers to pause before they entered into a coalition against us. That was a position he had always contended was necessary for the safety of this country; namely, that they should not have pressure put upon this country suddenly by these three Powers to which they would have to accede; that the position of stalemate would make it unlikely that this country would ever be attacked, because of the difficulty of combined operations over the singleness of our command, as against the command of allied fleets. A most interesting paper was published last week with reference to the combined operations of the Mediterranean, Channel, and Cruiser squadrons off the Ionian Islands last year. In those operations, conducted on the one side by the present Director of the Intelligence Department, and on the other side by the Commander of the Mediterranean Fleet, the difficulty of allied operations, which they had always contemplated as an immense strength to this country, was shown; and, from the full account which had been laid before the House of Commons, it appeared that even two sections of our own Fleet were unable co-operate with that closeness which they ought to expect in a single command. No one could read that interesting report without seeing to what extent it illustrated the advantage this country would have by a single command, against any combination that could be brought against it.

The only weak point that one could discern as really dangerous in the future was the training of the officers for high command and the selection of officers, which would give this country, in the event of war, that real unity of operations which ought to be our advantage against any allied Powers. His hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty had done an immense deal for the Admiralty since he had been in it. Any one who closely followed the work of the Admiralty must be of that opinion; and he was sure no man in this country was a higher personal believer in the necessity for the higher training of officers, and for care in the selection of officers, than his hon. friend. There might be doubts as to boilers or guns, but they could be corrected from time to time, and they had the example of other countries to guide them. But with regard to the operations of the great officers of the Fleet, they were conducted in the dark, and no criticism could adequately control them. The responsibility must rest personally on the Board of Admiralty; it was a very high and a very grave responsibility; and it was the only real point of doubt that remained. His hon. friend made a convert of the Prime Minister to his views; and he was able, on three occasions, to state the Prime Minister's full acceptance of that principle, regarding which they had agreed with his hon. friend in the past. He could not but believe that under the care and suggestion of his hon. friend the only doubt would be removed, and that they might feel that the enormous sums of money which they were necessarily called upon to pay would be put to the best end, and would be used by the most capable men.

*MR. YERBURGH (Chester)

said he should like to state why, although he had voted for a reduction of the Army Estimates, he now intended to vote for such very large and unexampled Navy Estimates. Ho did so because his first consideration was the efficiency of the Navy, and its aptitude to carry out any operations that it might be called upon to perform. On this point he would say that it was extremely probable that the limit of expenditure had not yet been reached. He wished to say with the hon. Member for Dumfries Burghs that they should not deal with their great Navy, of which they were all so proud, in any spirit of boastfulness, but rather in that sober, steady spirit of Englishmen, who looked upon it as a system of insurance against the dangers of war. In connection with the point that had been raised by hon. Members opposite as to contributions by the Colonies to the Imperial Navy, it might interest the Committee to know that in Canada there was a growing feeling in favour of the necessity of some contribution to the Imperial Navy. In that connection he would say that, of course, the sentiment of contributing to the expense of the Imperial Navy was not a plant they could force in a hothouse atmosphere. It should be nourished in the free air of public opinion. From reports he had read he believed that it was not only the opinion of "the man in the street," in; Canada, but also the opinion of the intellectual and commercial classes that, after all, Canada should look beyond her own shores and should consider the advisability and necessity of giving some contribution to the expense of the Imperial Navy, which would have to bear so large a share in the protection of her interests should they be placed in peril. Apart from the expense they were called upon to face they should never lose sight of the fact that, with reference to the Navy, they could never improvise anything. They could not improvise a battleship, or a cruiser, or a destroyer. That was a serious factor, and in considering the various operations which the: Navy might have to undertake they should never lose sight of the fact that the force with which they entered on a war was the force with which they would have to carry that war through. That fact must have a strong influence on all who were responsible for framing the Estimates which were submitted to the House of Commons.

There was another point which bore on the question, and that was not only the size of the Navy and its preparation for war, but what Captain Mahan called its "preparedness for war." Preparation for war was the provision of guns and material; preparedness for war was the provision of trained men to work the ships on the day of battle, and of officers who would have to direct the men. Captain Mahan said that no country was properly prepared for war unless it had all the preparedness as well as the preparation for war. It is most essential to this country that it should have both, more essential than ever it was before, because the Navy was not now supreme, as it was in the days of the Napoleonic wars. Now it had only relative superiority, and how long it would maintain superiority at its present level it was difficult to say; but that pointed to the fact that this country, above all other nations, must be prepared for war in all respects. He thought the Government had not left these important points out of mind. He thought also the Committee would agree with what the First Lord of the Admiralty said in his Memorandum, that the thanks of the country were due to the right lion. I Member for Berwickshire and his col- leagues for the admirable service they had rendered in connection with the Naval Reserve; and, in his opinion, their report was a very solid contribution to an extremely difficult and thorny question. There was another question which bore upon the question of preparedness, and that was the position of naval officers. He had taken the opportunity of gathering the opinions of men qualified to judge, and, looking at the Admiralty scheme broadly, it appeared to him that it was a natural evolution of the system that began with the development of steam. Everything on a battleship was now done by machinery, and it appeared to him to be only common sense that naval officers-should be in a position to control and regulate machinery in their ships. He would not touch on the question of patronage, or the ago of entry, but his own individual opinion was that the earlier a boy was taken the better; and he could not accept the argument for the moment that a boy who was put aside because he was in any way unfitted for the Service would be in any way injured, because the education he would receive would be of great service to him.

There were other points on which he would like to touch. One was that which was raised by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean with reference to strengthening the Mediterranean Fleet. The views put forward three or four years back had proved to be correct, as the Admiralty had recognised the expediency of strengthening that Fleet, and were still continuing the process. With regard to manœuvres it was perfectly obvious that it must be an enormous advantage to any officer who might be called upon to command a Fleet in time of war to have had the opportunity of manœuvring that Fleet in time of peace, and he could not conceive any better school for an officer than such manœuvres as had recently taken place. He congratulated the Admiralty on having recognised the great value of the submarine. Through the experiments conducted by the United States and France it had been conclusively proved that the submarine was a most dangerous engine of war. It was really a mine which could operate over an enormous field; it could steer a very steady course and arrive at its destination absolutely unseen; and, according to responsible authorities, its development would practically destroy the whole system of the protection of ports by fortresses and heavy guns. That was a very serious question for this country, and certainly had a strong bearing on all the propositions put forward in this House for the defence of the country against raid or attack. There were two other points to which he had desired to refer, but, as he understood an hon. Member intended to raise the question of gunnery, he would simply ask whether the Mediterranean Fleet were fitted with the latest development of the 6-inch gun, whether they had telescopic sights, and whether they were in all respects up-to-date.


said the Committee were in the unfortunate position, owing to the exigencies of business, of having to consider the largest Navy Estimates ever presented in the shortest time ever allotted for the purpose. The debate had very wisely been confined to the question of expenditure, and it was to that question he would direct his remarks. To those who might take umbrage at what he was going to say he desired to make a plea on his own behalf, and that was—that nobody could say that during the last seven years he had been an unfriendly critic of the Navy Estimates, or that he had ever failed to stand up in vindication of the true prerogative of the Admiralty in all matters of naval policy. But on the present occasion the amount asked for was so enormous that extra caution and consideration were required, and the questions involved in the Estimates were of such a character that they had to be determined, not by naval opinion alone, but by the deliberate opinion of the Government as a whole, and by the opinion of hon. Members of this House. Ten years ago the total of the Navy Estimates was a little over £14,000,000; this year they were £34,500,000, or, adding £1,500,000 for the Naval Works Bill, a total of £36,000,000. During the same period the number of men had increased from 76,000 to 1'27,000; dockyard men of all classes, from 21,000 to 35,000: the Shipbuilding Vote—the most important Vote in the Estimates—from £4,700,000 to over £17,000,000; the amount devoted to the construction of new ships from £2,400,000 to over £10,000,000; and the Vote for men had nearly doubled. The Non-effective Votes alone showed only a small increase, but there was no consolation to be derived from that fact as their increase was equally automatic and inevitable. That was the picture presented by the Estimates of the year, and every Member was bound to approach their consideration with redoubled care. Unless the cry for economy which was now heard in some quarters was a miserable Parliamentary hypocrisy, the Committee were bound to sit down to all the Estimates, and particularly to those now under consideration, with the determination to see whether the expenditure was justified in all particulars, or whether in some respects it could be reduced.

Having made a comparison with the past, he would now, as far as the materials at his disposal would allow, make a forecast of the prospects of the future. There were two methods of calculation. The first was that—if the rate of progress of the last decennial period were maintained during the next ten years, the House of Commons of that date would have to face the consideration of Estimates amounting to more than £80,000,000. The second method of calculation concerned the Shipbuilding Vote, the Vote on which all the rest depended. Up to the year 1893–94, the Navy Estimates were in what he might call a normal condition; all the Votes were much of the same size. The total amount was about £14,000,000, and the Shipbuilding Vote always amounted to just one-third of the total. If the Shipbuilding Vote were not increased at all next year, if it remained stationary, ultimately, though not immediately, the Committee would have to face Estimates amounting to more than £50,000,000. That was the prospect for the future, and no man was entitled to discuss the Estimates as though they involved no further expenditure. With either method of calculation the prospect was a serious one, and he desired to make one or two suggestions in regard thereto. Whether the expenditure increased at the rate which had prevailed during the last ten years, or whether the Shipbuilding Vote remained at its present figure, he did not believe we could go on without serious financial danger. Then he had alluded to the increase in the number of dockyard servants. This enormous sum might be regarded as going altogether in wages, by the employment of a large proportion of the people of this country. There were 137,000 men in the Navy alone and 35,000 in the dockyards, and there must be hundreds of thousands of people in this country dependent upon this Naval Vote, and there were also hundreds of thousands dependent upon the Military Vote. Therefore they had an incalculable number of people in the country who could use great political influence, and this was a serious state of things. They had been talking of normal expenditure, and the normal expenditure recently proposed for the Army was not adopted so enthusiastically by the House. In regard to the Navy there was no normal expenditure as judged by the past. What were the reasons which ought to determine the size of the British Navy? Naval opinion was not conclusive upon this point. It was not enough to say that naval advisers considered that this amount of money was required, because matters were involved in this question upon which the naval authorities knew no more than other people. One; governing consideration was the preparation made by other Powers, and they had heard a great deal about that. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean admitted that the programme of Lord Spencer, ten years ago, placed the country in a position of absolute equality with two Powers, and comparative safety against three Powers. The question of the standard was one for the statesmen wielding the power of the Government for the time being, because it meant that they must make the selection of the two Powers, and it was for those statesmen to declare which those Powers were.

What was the objective now? Were there two or three Powers in number? If the other Powers were asked France would say she was building against Germany, Germany against France, Russia against Japan: and each of those countries would say that they were not building against England. The danger of a combination of European Powers was a question for the Foreign Office and for the Prime Minister rather than for the First Lord of the Admiralty; and he regretted that upon the first great naval debate after the appointment of the Committee of Defence the President of that Committee had not favoured the House with his presence. Two years ago the First Lord of the Admiralty stated in the House of Lords that the British Navy was then practically equal to one-third of the entire battleship force of the whole world; in other words our Navy was not simply up to a two-Power or a three-Power standard, but up to a standard of equality with half the navies of the world. He wanted to know whether the Secretary to the Admiralty had any reason to believe that in the course of the last two years their position had been affected. Last year the Navy Estimates were increased slightly, and the year before that they were increased by £2,000,000. Notwithstanding that two years ago they had a power equal to one-half of the rest of the world, the Admiralty were asking for an increased £3,000,000 this year. Therefore he thought it was a pertinent question to ask—had their position altered from what was stated by the First Lord two years ago, and, if so, would the hon. Member show how it had been varied?

The increase was so enormous that they could not maintain the old habit of accepting what the Admiralty proposed, because these Estimates had been dumped down on the Table of the House without explanation, and the First Lord had nothing to say about them except that the Estimates had increased. Upon that point he hoped the hon. Gentleman would have something to say. Another important point to consider was the extent of the area to be protected. A regular official justification for Naval Estimates had been the fact that they had to defend the whole Empire, and the whole trade of the Empire. At the Colonial Conference Lord Selborne pointed out that one-fourth of the Colonial trade was of no interest to the United Kingdom. The, Colonial Secretary went beyond almost anything that had been said in the House of Commons upon this point. He said that this country had borne the whole burden for many years, and had been paying for the defence of the whole trade of the Empire, towards which the Colonies had not been contributing. He made that statement on behalf of the whole Government, and he said that the large naval expenditure had been necessitated and determined by the size of the Empire which they had undertaken to govern. Speaking in South Africa the Colonial Secretary went even beyond that language, and, speaking for the Government, he said the time had come when this question must be reconsidered, for the present state of things could not go on for ever. He had never urged the application of pressure to the Colonies, but he hid urged that the Navy served the Colonies just as much as Scotland or Ireland and that they were just as much bound to make compensation for benefits received as Scotland or Ireland. It was their Imperial duty to recognise the services rendered at such enormous expense by people who were poorer than they were, and who could not afford even old age pensions. He would not, however, propose any forcible attempt to compel thorn to make a contribution, but he did think that tin hypocritical adulation upon which they had been fed for the last two years should come to an end, and that they should no longer be deceived in the matter. That was a question upon which an answer was required.

An extraordinary document about South Africa had been issued setting forth the policy of the Government That was the policy declared by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, in this House, who said that this stat of things could not go on for ever If that was so, had the Committee not a right to ask the Government now what they proposed to do? Did they propose to go on with this system? They asked £3,000,000 more for the Navy, and they said that the naval burden of the Empire falling on the shoulders of the people of the United Kingdom was already too high. How could they reconcile these things? The answer to this question should be given, not by the Admiralty, but by the Government. He regretted that the Minister who, above all, was responsible, n his capacity of Premier and Chairman of the Committee of Defence, should not give his aid in the deliberations in which they were now engaged. In regard to the question of the Colonies he believed what his right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean had said about the apparent unlikeliness of a contribution from them. There seemed to be no probability of any contribution being offered from the Colonies. He was afraid they would be driven to the conclusion that the Colonies were as strongly wedded to the heresy of a local navy as they were to the economical heresy of Protection, and they must make up their mind to the one as well as to the other. He believed they would willingly start navies of their own, and in alliance might be made with them. That would be a contribution of some kind to this enormous expenditure. That was not a very happy solution, but it seemed to him to be the most possible and plausible one. On this also he would like to hear a word from the Secretary to the Admiralty.

The present state of things could not on for ever. There was one thing that might be done. The Government might do something to decrease the hostile feeling which their policy had created in the minds of foreign nations. There was no doubt at all about that. For some time it had been a strong, and, he thought, a dangerous feeling. One good thing would be to get rid of the notion that we were an aggressive Power, because, so long as continental nations believed that we were an aggressive and unscrupulous Power, they would not consent to accept the position of naval superiority which we insisted on. Surely something might be done by establishing arbitration as the necessary resort in all cases of international polity. In that way something might be gained, but most would be gained if they arrived at some practical scheme of inducing the other naval Powers of the world to recognise the folly upon which all had entered. He was not blaming this country more than any other. Surely the great civilised nations of the world might consider whether something could not be done to put a stop to this insane competition. We would be ruined if the increase went on at the same rate at which it had proceeded during the last ten years. He should have liked to hear from the Prime Minister some assurance that the Committee of Defence had thought over the matter.

He had only one word more to say, and he regretted to have to say it. Were we paying for all we were getting? That might seem an astounding conundrum. We were spending £36,000,000 a year on the Navy, and yet we were disfiguring the whole thing by immense exactions. The Secretary to the Admiralty had admitted that a practice prevailed in the Navy by which young officers were allowed to provide, out of their own means, for services necessary in the ships in which they were engaged. That was what was called painting the ship. The hon Gentleman stated that this was permitted, although it was not encouraged. What inducement had an officer to spend money in that way? His hon. friend said "promotion." The very suspicion of such an inducement condemned the system. In the Memorandum published by the First Lord there was an eloquent sentence in which he condemned the system under which the expenditure on naval bands was charged on the commanding officers of ships. What a monstrous piece of nonsense it was that even this should be allowed. He thought all music was detestable, but if these bauds were necessary in the service of the ships the State should bear the burden. It was not worthy of the British Navy that petty exactions of this sort should be tolerated at all. Yesterday the Admiralty were accused of setting up a system which would exclude from the Navy all but the sons of the rich. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would give an assurance that he condemned the practice of allowing these exactions, and that they would no longer be permitted by the Admiralty.


said the hon. and learned Member for Dundee in the course of his speech stated that the existing state of affairs was such that it was absolutely necessary for those who thought with him to sit down to the consideration of it in order to see whether any item in the Estimates could be decreased. When he heard that he anxiously awaited the execution of that design, but he had not heard from the hon. and learned Member, or from any hon. Member, any suggestion whatever which could be brought within that category. He had not heard any suggestions at all as to any item that might be decreased. Some general suggestions had been made which ho would endeavour to deal with.

He would address himself first to the questions which had been put to him by the hon. Member for East Perthshire, and repeated by others. They asked what was the principal explanation of this great increase, for it was a great increase, in the Estimates. He would point out that there were two very obvious explanations of this, without going into any political reasons at all as suggested by some hon. Members. In the first place, in regard to the new programme of naval construction during the present year, it would be in the recollection of the Committee that the Admiralty were not able last year to lay down all the ships to the point they regarded as necessary to keep up the Fleet. They had now made a return to what he might call the normal position of new construction, and, of course, that was reflected in the extra expense in the new programme. The Committee must remember that he, as representative of the Admiralty, was somewhat severely censured by hon. Members last year for the smallness of the provision, which was attributed to the new programme during the course of the coining year. There had been another contributory cause. The hon. Member cited the great contrast between the expense involved in building at the present time and ten years ago. A great deal had happened which had necessarily enormously increased the cost of building. Ten years ago the largest armoured cruiser we had in the Navy was 300 feet long, with much less armour than now. The present cruiser was a vessel of 11,000 to 14,000 tons, and was almost completely armoured from stem to stern and was also provided with armoured casemates. All this armour was of an extraordinarily complicated character, and exceedingly costly to produce. If that was true in the case of cruisers it was true in an equal and perhaps a greater degree of battle ships. The battleship of ten years ago cost £700,000, and it had now gone up to £1,000,000 or £1,250,000, and when they had this enormously increased expenditure on individual ships they found it reflected in the total. This was not a willing departure on the part of the Admiralty. There had been undoubtedly an increase in the tonnage displacement of ships, as well as an increase in the defensive and offensive power of the ships. But it was not the country that set the example in that matter. Everybody knew that there was pressure put on the House and the country by the action of other Powers. It was said that there was a danger of our meeting ships at sea with which we could not hope to contend, and the Admiralty were compelled to give way to that feeling. We were certainly not the first to adopt the exceedingly expensive design of the armoured cruiser. The size of the ship, the armour, and the new and improved armaments, it would be found, accounted to a very large extent for the large increase in the cost of the materials. It was not that we were building a much larger number of ships, but that the materials for the ships were extremely costly. That brought him to the argument of the hon. Member for Dundee to the effect that we were departing from precedent, because Vote 8 bore a larger proportion to the other Votes than it had hitherto done.

MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON said that his point was that, taking the normal period the Shipbuilding Vote always amounted to just one-third of the total amount of the Vote, and that even if they did not add to the shipbuilding Vote next year the result would be, although not immediately, that they would be landed in an annual expenditure of £51,000,000 for the Navy.

*MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER said he understood that the argument of the hon. Member was that we were exceeding the normal proportion in Vote 8.




Necessarily, because the expense of the material was larger proportionately than the proporsionate cost of the men.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite had made one or two general suggestions as to methods by which we might hope to reduce our Naval expenditure. In the first place it was said that had we entered into consultation with foreign Powers and acted in harmony with them we might have reduced our expenditure. The hon. and learned Member for Dumfries had also dwelt on the point that every increase in our Naval expenditure always meant a corresponding increase of the expenditure of other nations; and that therefore the outlay of this country was rendered nugatory and without effect. That hardly harmonised with the statement that we had been increasing our expenditure much faster than other countries. It was also stated that when we entered into this extravagant increase of expenditure other nations always followed our footsteps. But be that as it might, the argument was carried a little too far. He thought it was obvious from all history, and modern history especially, that there were occasions when money could be wisely and profitably expended on the naval and military requirements of the nation. It was not always correct to say that it was useless expenditure. It was in the recollection of hon. Members that judicious military and naval expenditure had resulted in the redemption of Venice, in the restoration of Rome to Italy, in the consolidation of Prussia, and the relief of Germany from the long oppression of the threat of; French invasion; and though he did not contemplate that we should ever be put to any trials precisely similar to those he had cited, it was not correct to suggest that every addition to our expenditure was useless because it was necessarily followed by corresponding expenditure by other Powers.

The hon. and learned Member said that we ought to be the first to make a proposal to the other Powers.

Now, he spoke with the most sincere respect regarding any proposal of that kind He had said the previous day, and he repeated it, how strongly he felt that if any such consummation as that could be arrived at it would be a pure gain to everybody everywhere. But the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean anticipated him in making reply that a definite proposal had come from this House, and from a Government which was the predecessor of the present Government, in the direction the hon. Member desired, and that there was no response at all to that definite proposal. Lord Goschen, then Mr. Goschen, on two occasions made a definite offer of a reduction of our naval expenditure it a corresponding reduction were made in the expenditure then already sanctioned by the continental Powers, but we absolutely received no response to that proposition. He was not prepare.!, and he did not think the Committee were prepared, to take the view that we ought necessarily to take the lead in this matter, it had been well said that the position of this country as regarded maritime expenditure did not, and never could, correspond to that of the great Continental Powers. We must look facts in the face. We must remember that while this was a matter of life and death to us, it was a matter of indulgence to foreign nations. Our Fleet always had been, and always must be, a defensive Fleet. It could never assume the character of a predatory Fleet. We had quite enough to do to defend our possessions abroad and our countrymen at home. But that could not be said of some of the great navies of other countries. Although he had no authority to speak on behalf of the Government on so grave a matter, he believed this Government were as much disposed as any Government that had preceded them towards any accommodation, which could be relied upon, for the reduction of our enormous naval armaments; but he did not think that it was our place to enter on this path while other nations refused to pursue it with us.

An hon. Member spoke in regard to Colonial contributions to the Navy, and quoted with approval the words of his right hon. friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Certainly he would be the last person who would be likely to quarrel with an opinion of that kind, expressed by so distinguished a member of the Government; but he thought that they must all agree, on that side of the House as well as on this, that the situation was a very serious one in regard to the enormous burden thrown on this country by being compelled to be the sole defender of British rights all over the world. He had been blamed for allowing the contributions promised by some of the Colonies to appear in the Estimates before they had been sanctioned by the Colonial Parliaments. He thought, however, that he would have been censured had they not appeared in the Estimates. They appeared with an Explanatory Note, which made it quite clear that these amounts were conditional upon the Colonial Parliaments making them effective by their Votes. He quite admitted that some of these contributions might not be made. But in regard to the Australian Common wealth, he thought it would have been discourteous if we had not given effective recognition to the promise of the Ministers of the Commonwealth, and not had assumed that they were going to do their utmost to carry out the promises they had given.

The question itself was a very serious one. He did not know whether the hon. Gentleman opposite was going to give effect to the policy which he adumbrated, and whether that was the policy of the Party opposite—namely, to give notice to the Colonies that we were to cease to defend them in the event of a maritime war with a foreign. Power.




Then they were pretty much agreed on this matter. But everyone on either side of the House must feel that there was a real danger that this persistent apathy (he must call it so) on the part of the Colonies was likely at any rate to have one serious result. Whatever might be the view of the Colonies, there was the danger of reaction in this country, and the growth of the feeling that it was impossible to bear this burden very much longer. He was sure that they all agreed that the idea of pressing the Colonies beyond their own desire to contribute to the naval and military establishments of this country, was one which no sane person could entertain. It was a matter on which we had no power at all; and it was as certain as anything could be that if, in the future, we were to receive more generous contributions at the; hands of the Colonies it would be entirely of their own good-will, and the result of further instruction of Colonial public opinion to which he attached great importance. But there was a danger that reaction might come on this side, and, when it did come he confessed it would be a very serious day for this country, and also for the Colonies. On that account he could not help feeling the fact the misconception in regard to a naval war which appeared in some of the Colonies, for it was a very serious one. It appeared to be the idea among certain Colonial circles that a naval war could be made a matter of limited liability. That was an entire delusion. If, for instance, the Australian Colonies found themselves, as they might find themselves, in the event of the Imperial Navy abandoning them, pressed by France in regard to the New Hebrides, pressed by Japan in regard to Japanese immigration, or pressed by Germany, which desired to establish some colony on Australian soil, then the Australian Colonies would at once find that the idea of limited liability in naval warfare was one which had no substantial foundation, and that they would not have to contend only with the foreign squadron—say the German—at present in Australian waters, but against the whole maritime strength of the foreign nation with which they were engaged, which would be brought against them. They would find that in that event they would have to expend something enormously beyond any contribution which they now made to the Imperial Navy, and under these circumstances he feared their taxpayers would look extremely blue.

Nor did he think that the idea of separate navies was likely to find such favour as some hon. Members supposed; and for this reason. He was able, during the recent visit of the Delegates, to make a calculation that if the Australian Commonwealth were to furnish itself with the smallest navy known in the civilized world, the mere cost of upkeep would be enormously in excess of anything which had been suggested as the contribution of Australia to our Fleet. He could hardly believe that the Australian Commonwealth was likely to attempt to establish a navy, even upon that modest scale.

The appointment of warrant officers to commissioned rank would not, so far as he knew, interfere with the opportunities of advancement open to senior lieutenants. These officers would assume posts chiefly in the dockyards now held by chief warrant officers.

Although there had been a considerable amount of general criticism on the amount of the Estimates, there had been a singularly small amount of criticism on the details. He wished to make it clear to the Committee that these additions of ships and men to the Navy Estimates were not casual and spasmodic additions. They wore all the result of a most careful examination of the contingencies which, in existing circumstances, we might have to face in the event of war. The programme which had been laid before the Committee was the continuance of the programme which was sanctioned last year, and a preparation for that which the Government hoped would be sanctioned in the coming year. He hoped they would be allowed to obtain that Vote that evening, as there would be another opportunity of discussing many of these matters on the report of the Vote to-morrow.

*MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)

said whatever might be the difference of opinion in various quarters of the House as to the amount of these Estimates, there could be no difference of opinion as to the urgency for remedying the deficiencies or the defective handling of our implements of warfare. In suggesting that, he hoped the hon. Member for Gateshead would not think he was going to enter into a discussion on boilers, but he desired to say a word or two on an equally important question—that of gunnery. His hon. friend had pointed out that they could have ships costing a lot of money and yet that could not steam. He I would go a step further, and say they could have good ships costing a lot of money and well armoured, but which if they could not shoot straight were no good at all. At the present moment there were plenty of figures in circulation which gave the percentages of shooting, good and bad, and as they were not questioned by the Navy, he would take it that they were reliable. It appeared that the average of the annual prize shooting showed that for every three shots fired two missed their object, and that only nine ships in the whole of the Navy could shoot at all well and be regarded as good shots. The Secretary to the Admiralty smiled at that, but he would be glad to hear figures in contradiction. He found that out of the total figures 118 ships shot badly, and what was still worse, of the remainder over fifty did not shoot at all. He would ask the Admiralty whether it was the fact or not that there were a large number of ships in the Navy that did not carry out their quarterly or even annual prize firing.


The hon Member stated that ships did not fire at all. There are ships that do not carry out prize firing, but it does not follow that they do not fire at all.

*MR. KEARLEY disclaimed any desire to mislead the House or to impute that non prize firing ships could not shoot. It was unfortunate that there was no record given from which they could judge how those particular ships could shoot. The House could only go by the Returns, and they showed that 118 shot badly and only nine shot well. What did that mean? They spent money on new construction and built battleships fitted with the best armour and the best guns, and they voted with alacrity £1,500,000 or £1,000,000 for the purpose. Taking the "Bulwark" and the "Ocean," both of which vessels were built recently, at Devonport, and were excellently provided with officers and crews as examples of good shooting ships, he found that the "Bulwark" with her 12-inch guns scored 106 hits out of 155 shots, whilst the "Ocean," with 6-inch guns, out of 163 shots hit the target 117 times. The "Ocean" was taught good shooting by Captain Percy Scott, whose reputation for enforcing efficiency in gunnery was well known to the House, and the "Bulwark" was equally favoured with a commander who took the greatest interest in efficient shooting. As examples of bad shooting, he found the "Formidable" out of twenty-seven shots scored only one hit; the "Vengeance," which was only commissioned last year, hit twice out of forty-four shots, and the "Hannibal," a vessel of great expectations, with its big guns scored three hits in twenty-nine rounds of prize firing. That meant that the two Devonport ships could beat the others out of all time. He emphasised that point in order to show that it was the I will power of the officers that gained the superiority. Again they found the "Speedy," which had been in commission for three years, fired twenty-three rounds, and never hit the target at all.

Bad as those figures were, the House would think they indicated much more when they considered the conditions as to range and speed under which the firing was carried out. Those conditions were laid down ten or twelve years ago when the rapidity of fire and range of guns were much lower than at the present day. The range was from 1,500 to 1,800 yards, and the speed at which the ships travelled when firing was between ten and twelve knots an hour. What would be the real conditions under which these ships would fire in time of war? He was told that the effective range of a 12-inch gun was ten miles, and that the guns would carry as far as fourteen miles. He was also assured, on good authority, that the enemy's ships would become a target under the best atmospheric conditions at eight miles, and yet our Fleet were being trained in gunnery at a range of 1,500 to 1,800 yards. Long before our ships were as close as this to the enemy, all would be over, because, independently of the range of the enemy's guns, there had to be taken into account the torpedo, which had a range of 3,000 yards. Were the Admiralty satisfied with the conditions under which the firing of the Navy was being carried on at the present moment? In his opinion, it was necessary to make everything in the way of an officer's promotion depend on good gunnery, and if efficiency could not be obtained he would counsel that compulsory retirement should be enforced. He would also lay down a minimum standard of efficiency, and he thought it was not asking too much to demand that each ship should be called upon to come up to that standard. Too much emphasis could not be laid upon the will power of the officers to enforce good training. Captain Scott was going, or had already gone, to H.M.S. "Excellent," and would doubtless do some good work there; but they ought to have at the Admiralty as the Director of Naval Ordnance a man with full authority to draw up and enforce shooting regulations and standards for the whole Fleet, and he could not help thinking that it would be a good thing to appoint Captain Percy Scott to such a position. That officer started in a small boat, the "Scylla," and brought its firing up to a high standard of efficiency. He did the same with the "Terrible," and made good shooting so contagious on the China station that although the "Ocean" at first did not shoot well, it soon became, under his command, so efficient as to beat the record of the "Terrible." In conclusion, he would suggest that the Admiralty should give good prizes to encourage better shooting, and should make a more liberal quarterly allowance of ammunition. Some concessions an that direction had been made in the last five years, but if more opportunities for practice were given, he ventured to say that gunnery in the Navy would become its most prominent sport, and year by year, ship by ship, and gun by gun there would grow up that spirit of emulation which could only result in advantage to the Navy at large.

MR. SEELY (Lincoln)

agreed that gunnery was of the greatest importance. Nobody who took any interest in the English Navy would ever forget what troubles and disasters befell it in the American War when they met the American Navy, which was a very small one, but which, from the superiority of its shooting, gained many small successes over us. Gunnery was of such importance that it was not necessary for him to emphasise it. He desired to address himself to the question which had been raised that afternoon by the hon. Member for Dumfries. The right lion. Gentleman spoke with a gravity which was justified of the large amount of the Navy Estimates, and he had quoted the increase which had taken place in ten years. He had pointed out that the Navy Estimates of this country had doubled in that time, whilst those of the three principal Powers had only increased by £6,000,000. That statement had produced an influence on the right hon. Gentleman's mind which he felt confident would constitute a serious danger to the security and safety of the country. He would, under those circumstances, draw attention to the proposition laid down by Mr. Childers when First Lord of the Admiralty. Mr. Childers, whom no one could accuse of being a Jingo or extreme Imperialist, laid it down that if we suddenly found we should be, at twenty-four hours' notice, entangled without an ally in a war with three maritime Powers, our strength should be such that we should be able to hold our own in the Channel, in the Home seas, the Mediterranean, Chinese, and Colonial waters. That was the principle laid down in 1875. It went farther, and he had always felt was more suited to this country, than the so-called two-Power standard; it gave us a much greater security, and, therefore, more force in the councils of the world.

What was the position of affairs in 1875? Not being an expert, he did not consider himself competent to deal with particular ships or particular classes of fleets or squadrons; he could simply take the expenditure of different countries, and assume that our own expenditure was as well directed. In 1875 our expenditure was £10,000,000, while that of the three other principal maritime Powers was £8,250,000. In 1885 the expenditure of the three other nations had gone up to £12,000,000; ours stood at a little over £10,000,000. The Committee would therefore see that, while in 1875 the expenditure came Tip to the proposition laid down by Mr. Childers, in the ensuing ten years there was no serious increase, although the other countries were spending considerably more. Then from 1885 to the year mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, the other three Powers increased their expenditure to £25,000,000, while we increased ours only to £17,000,000. He could not help thinking that that gave ground for thought, and that it was due to our failure during those years to increase our expenditure in proportion to that of other countries that we had been compelled during the last ten years, to increase the Estimates to £34,000,000—a sum which all would acknowledge was a heavy burden on the country. But that expenditure of £34,000,000 again put us in the position we held in 1874, viz., one of greater strength than that of the three other Powers, and he hoped that, if it did not cause a reduction—of which in the present condition of European affairs there was little chance—it would have the effect of checking the increase of foreign fleets which had entailed this abnormal increase of our own expenditure.

As to the hope held out in some quarters of obtaining from the Colonies a contribution towards the cost of Imperial; defence, there was, of course, a chance of that happening, and, on account both of the saving of expenditure to this country, and of the spirit it would show on the part of the Colonies, everyone would be glad to receive a really substantial contribution of that nature. It would not, however, be wise to lay much stress on the matter. He agreed that we had a moral claim for a contribution, but by insisting on that moral claim we should run the risk of causing a feeling of injustice and of creating a certain amount of disunion between us and our fellow-subjects across the sea. It had also to be remembered that though the Fleet was maintained for the defence of the whole Empire, it was maintained, primarily and mainly, for the defence of this country. Serious as might be the results to the Empire of a defeat of our Fleet, to this country it would be absolute ruin, and the Colonies were aware that the size of the Fleet was determined, not so much by the size of the Empire as by the size of the fleets of those Powers whom we might have to meet. He did not think therefore, there was much chance of a contribution from the Colonies, and he was glad that the Government had had the courage, even at a time when taxation was undoubtedly heavy, to increase the expenditure to the amount they considered necessary.

Looking at the competition of other nations, it could not be said that we were doing anything more than we were obliged to do, or anything but what, from the nature of the case, and judging by the experience of past years, was most likely to have the effect of checking the unfortunate race in armaments between the nations of the world. He hoped there would be a reduction in the expenditure of foreign countries, but if there was not such a reduction, he was confident that the people of this country would never be unwilling to bear whatever burdens were necessary for their protection. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that the speeches of to-day had thoroughly and completely justified those who had pointed out the gravity, at a time of such heavy taxation as the present, of allowing any increase of those forces of the Crown which were not absolutely essential to the defence of the country. In conclusion, he expressed his hope and confidence that the money now to be voted would be wisely and rightly expended, and that whether or not the increase of our forces checked the expenditure of other countries, this country would never allow itself to fall behind in the race for naval power, upon which the whole of our security in the future rested.

*MR. ARNOLD-FOESTER thought a reply was due to the hon. Member for Devonport, because he had referred to a matter of great public interest and of real importance. The hon. Member had asked whether he was satisfied. Of course he was not. That was not the attitude of the Admiralty in these matters. It was never satisfied whore improvement was possible. They desired always to be progressing. He desired the Committee to understand, however, that the picture drawn by the hon. Member as to the gunnery of the Navy was really rather fanciful. It was true that the necessity for good gunnery had enormously increased in modern times. In the first place, the guns would shoot farther and straighter, and, in the second place, it was necessary that they should be more correctly pointed, because the object at which they shot was farther off. That effect was produced by the extended range of the gun itself, and by the extended effective range of the torpedo. Bat when the hon. Member spoke of ships ten miles apart getting into elective action, he thought he really was going a little too far.

*MR. KEARLEY said he had not spoken of ships going into action; he had referred to an enemy's ship affording a target at eight miles.

*MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER believed that a ship would be actually hull down at that distance.

MR. KEARLEY disagreed.


(continuing) said he would not quarrel over that point, as they were agreed on other matters of far greater importance. It was well known that ships could profitably engage at a distance of 6,000 yards, and he would not like it to be thought that the Admiralty were unaware of that fact. As the hon. Member had drawn an alarming picture of what he called the bad gunnery of the Navy, it would be well for the Committee to understand what this bad gunnery really meant. It was true that the exercise known as prize-firing formed a part, but a part only, of the tiring on every ship. It was done under artificial conditions, with the ship steaming at twelve knots, and in comparatively fine weather. It being necessary to renew the target very often, this firing could be carried out only under certain favourable conditions. There were certain ships which, because of employment on other duties, or from Other causes, had not carried out their prize-firing during the year—the hon. Member had mentioned the number, large and small, as fifty. But the Committee should not attach very great importance to that circumstance. The fact was perfectly well known to the Admiralty; they were fully aware whether a ship had or had not done its prize-firing, and, if it had not, they knew the reasons which had prevented it. Prize-firing formed only a part, and by no means the most important part, of the gunnery of a ship in each year. The hon. Member had said—and this probably was the point which most interested the Committee—that a large number of the ships which had fired had secured very bad results, and also that the value of a ship which made thirty-six hits was immensely superior to that of a ship making twelve hits; in fact, that the one would practically annihilate the other. That sounded a very conclusive statement, and was no doubt arithmetically correct. But supposing the second ship fired thirty-six shots, of which twenty-four, although they missed the target, hit the ship, the discrepancy would not be so great, and he undertook to say that ninety-nine out of a hundred of the shots referred to by the hon. Member as "misses" would have struck the ship at which they were aimed. Prizefiring was carried on, in the case of the 6-in. gun, at a target 10 feet high by 20 feet wide, which, at 2,000 yards, was not a very large object; and it was not only possible, but it was the fact, that over and over again shots which passed over or alongside the target, and were properly recorded as misses, would have struck the ship if they had been aimed at one. He would point out that if the "Hannibal" missed a target 20 feet wide it did not follow that she would have missed in aiming at a vessel which was 400 feet long. Really the case was not as the hon. Member for Devonport had described it. The great variety of the circumstances under which prize-firing was conducted made actual comparisons between one ship and another extremely difficult in the Navy, and the circumstances of the day were always a most important factor in the results achieved. The guns themselves, too, varied in shooting qualities. The hon. Member seemed to think that long-distance firing was not practised now, but that was entirely a mistake. Long-distance firing was practised now as it had never been done before in the whole history of the Navy, and in the Mediterranean most remarkable results had been obtained. There was hardly a ship in the Navy which did not carry out long-distance firing.


Yes, on shore.


Certainly not on shore, but at sea. This practice was recognised as being very important, and he could take the hon. Member down to some of the gunnery ships at Portsmouth or Chatham where long distance firing was constantly practised, and he would see there some of the really extraordinary performances which had been accomplished. After a visit to these gunnery ships he thought the hon. Member would be ready to withdraw his sweeping criticism as to the character of the naval gunnery. He had seen long distance firing which was quite a revelation to those who had witnessed it. He quite admitted that there was room for a great deal of improvement in the gunnery of the Navy, both in regard to close and long-distance firing, but he assured the Committee that this was receiving the earnest attention of the Admiralty. Arrangements had been made whereby a portion of the ammunition could be expended, and was being expended, at the discretion of the officer commanding the ship, and that officer could carry out any experiments he liked subject to certain regulations. Some hon. Members had urged that special attention should be paid to the individual instruction of the men who showed special shooting abilities. This point had been occupying the attention of the Admiralty for many months, and hon. Members would see presently the result of the solicitude of the Admiralty in this matter. The hon. Member for Devonport is giving the Admiralty some advice with respect to the appointment of a particular officer to the post of Director of Naval Ordnance. May I ask leave to say that the Admiralty must be responsible for promotions. At the same time, I wish to make it clear that the duties of the Director of Naval Ordnance were not principally to superintend the firing on the ships, but to supply all necessary Ordnance material, and to regulate the pattern and ensure the best material in the case of guns and ammunition. The picture painted by the hon. Member of the Admiralty giving all their attention to the external decoration of ships, and wholly neglecting gunnery, was a purely fancy one, and had no relation whatever to the facts. Some of the best gunnery officers in the Service were at the Admiralty. In conclusion, he wished to say that he believed at the present moment that whatever might be said of the gunnery of the British Navy, taking it all round it was not surpassed by that of any navy in the world. Great advances were being made in the direction of improving the gunnery, and he asked the Committee not to take this-gloomy picture as representing the situation. He trusted the Committee would believe that the Admiralty were as well aware of the need for progress and improvement in gunnery as the hon. Member for Devonport himself.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton) said he did not pretend to understand the technical questions connected with the Navy, but he looked at the matter as a guardian of the public purse. His hon. friend the Member for Dundee made a very excellent speech, in common with many other excellent speeches delivered from this side of the House. The hon. Member for Dundee had been a Member of the Admiralty Board, and possessed official knowledge, and he had explained that the present increase was not necessary, and that, unless the Admiralty mended their ways, the cost of the Navy would possibly rise to £60,000,000 per annum. Under those circumstances the hon. Member asked, what were they to do? His answer was: "Divide against the Estimates." Many hon. Members talked and complained against the expenditure, and when it came to voting they went out, or else carried matters so far as to vote for the Government. The other day he expected to enlist some hon. Members opposite with the band of economists of which he was a Member, but when it came to a division some of them left the House and others voted with the Government. He did not say that they ought not to have a strong Navy. They had to defend themselves from invasion and keep up communication with India, and they had a large carrying trade; but they ought to be reasonable and remember that they could not go on spending indefinitely. They ought to take a reasonable sum for the Fleet which the country could stand, and make the best use of it. If the Admiralty did not make the best use of the money then they should turn out the Admiralty. He did not think it was a good thing to have changes at the Admiralty every year, and there were exceptional reasons why they should not agree to the present proposals. The country had now awakened to the fact that £90,000,000 a year upon armaments was very much too much. How had the Government met this? Simply by proposing an increase of 27,000 men in the Army—and that had been carried. If they wanted so many soldiers, they could not have more sailors as well. They could not eat their cake and have it. He would not go into matters of detail, but he put it upon the broad ground that, although they desired a strong and efficient Navy they should not increase the Navy Estimates in the present year because the Government had decided to increase the Army Estimates by £3,000,000. The Amendment which he proposed was that this Vote should be reduced by £373,800. By supporting his Amendment they would not be voting against the Government, but simply expressing the opinion that the sum total spent upon armaments should be decreased, and not increased; and if they chose to take an excessive sum for the Army the Government must accept the responsibility and the Committee should say that they would not vote any more to the Navy because more had been taken for the Army. He begged to move.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £5,939,000, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Labouchere.)


said he wished to explain away some of the statements made by the hen. Member for Devonport, who had spoken about bad shooting. He had spoken to several gunnery lieutenants upon this question, and they told him that the real reason why they could not produce good gunners arose from the fact that the formation of the vessels themselves were too fine, and there were no steady platforms for the guns when there was any sea on, because the vessel was always on the wobble, consequently they could not hit the target. This was solely a question of ship formation. The ships were too fine forward and aft, and they had no middle body to make them suitable for good shooting. That was the real cause of the bad shooting of their sailors, and it arose from the fact that the constructor to the Admiralty required high speed at the expense of shooting, and also at the expense of the safety of the ship. That was the reason why they could not have good shooting. It was impossible to strike at short range, let alone a distance of 6,000 yards.

MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

said that the question of a Colonial contribution was a comparatively recent one with the Colonies. The matter had really never been brought before them as a definite and concrete demand for a contribution towards the expenses of the Navy. There had been a certain amount of vague talk with reference to the subject. He ventured to say that any political party that seriously proposed that the Australian Colonies, should be defended by a purely Australian navy would have very short shrift indeed. No party in the Colonies would for a moment suggest seriously that they should depart from the traditional custom of relying on the British Navy for defence. When the point was put before the Colonies, as it would be some day, he was quite certain that they would give every penny that could reasonably be demanded from them to pay their fair contribution to the cost of the Navy. The amount calculated in proportion to the population did not represent a very large sum. Another matter which had been repeatedly brought before the Secretary to the Admiralty was the utterly scandalous and inefficient ships which were sent to the north coast of Scotland to defend the fishing industry against foreign scoundrels and British depredators. The boats were only able to steam at eight knots an hour. Instead of sending for the purposes of the Fishery Board rubbish of that sort, which ought to have been broken up twenty or thirty years ago, the Admiralty should send vessels capable of performing the work they had to do.

THE CHAIRMAN said the Scottish Fishery Board could not be brought in under this Vote.

MR. CATHCART WASON said he could not support the Amendment. The hon. Member who moved it must see that to refuse the sum the Government had asked would be to brand those who took that course as not having the desire to see the British Navy predominant. They ought to do everything they could in this House and out of it to make the Navy as powerful and great as possible.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

said the increase in this Vote was inopportune. The hon. Gentleman in charge of the Estimates had given no explanation of the increase, although urgent appeals had been made from the Front Bench on the Opposition side of the House that the Government should state why the increase was proposed. While he was in favour of the British Navy being paramount on the sea, he thought that the Estimates of last year of £31,250,000 abundantly secured every end that the Admiralty should have in view in this matter. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean that we ought to try to substitute other means for the present system—probably by approaching all the other Powers with which we were competing—with the view to the reduction of expenditure on naval armaments. The right hon. Gentleman thought the time was opportune for this country approaching France, at least. He hoped some responsible Member of the Government would take that matter into consideration. In this debate no notice had been taken of the German Emperor's communication to the German Parliament with regard to the Navy Estimates. This statement was sent to the German Embassy, and published here for the information of the people of this country. That appeared to him to be an intimation on the part of the German Emperor that any approach made on the part of our Government with regard to this matter would be well received. He believed Government had no idea of the extraordinary feeling which had been created in the country by this immense increase in the Estimates. People who did not hesitate to support the Government during the late war blamed them now because they would not take any steps towards economy.


appealed to the Committee to assent to this Vote. There was only a limited time in which the financial business of the year could be transacted—it must be finished before Thursday the 31st of March—and he did not see how the Government could arrange the business for the convenience of the House if this Vote was not now granted. He had endeavoured so to frame the Rules as to safeguard the rights of private Members, but the House must second his efforts to carry out these arrangements.

MR. WEIR (ROSS and Cromarty)

said he had always supported the Admiralty in the view that this country should have the finest fleet in the world. What he complained of was the kind of gunboats sent to the North of Scotland to guard our fishing interests and to look after the trawlers which were ruining the fishing industry around our coasts. He hoped the Admiralty would provide boats for that work which wore able to steam at fifteen or sixteen knots an hour.

MR. KEARLEY said the Prime Minister had appealed to the Committee to let him have this Vote. He would be the last man to stand in the right hon. Gentleman's way. The right hon. Gentleman had appealed to the Committee on the score of the exigencies of the financial year. Of course, that was a matter of which the right hon. Gentleman had the arrangement, and if he had not provided himself: with plenty of time, he scarcely thought the right hon. Gentleman was justified in coming to the Committee and appealing on these grounds. The right hon. Gentleman had said something about their duty, but their duty was to discuss the Estimates. However, he was not going to resist the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman just then, but he gave notice that he and his friends would take the fullest possible care during the rest of the session to discuss the Votes. He wished to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a question. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the new Victualling Order in the Navy came into force this year. During the previous two years they had been denied the opportunity of discussing the Victualling Vote, and he asked an assurance from the First Lord of the Treasury that, provided he got the present Vote, he would give an undertaking to allow full opportunity for discussing the new Victualling arrangements for the Navy on Vote 2.

MR. BALFOUR said that as regarded the question put by the hon. Gentleman, he would consult the Secretary to the Admiralty and the wishes of the Committee as to the allocation of the time, which, of course, must be given to the Navy Estimates for next year before

the end of the session. He believed it would be possible to arrange that the morning sitting of Monday next should be devoted to the report of the Navy Votes, assuming that the report of the Army Votes finished to-morrow. That would leave the evening sitting of Monday next for the report of the Vote on Account.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 27; Noes, 252. (Division List No. 35.)

Brigg, John Levy, Maurice Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Broadhurst, Henry M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj. Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Burns, John Nussey, Thomas Willans White, George (Norfolk)
Burt, Thomas O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Cameron, Robert O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.) Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)
Cremer, William Randal O'Mara, James TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Delany, William O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Mr. Labouchere and Mr.
Harrington, Timothy Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Lough.
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Shackleton, David James
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Shipman Dr. John G.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cautley, Henry Strother Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Edwards, Frank
Aird, Sir John Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbyshire Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Cayzer, Sir Charles William Emmott, Alfred
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Chamberlain. Rt. Hn. J A (Worc Faber, George Denison (York)
Asquith, Kt. Hon. Herbt. Hy. Chapman, Edward Fardell, Sir T. George
Atherley-Jones, L. Churchill, Winston Spencer Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Clare, Octavius Leigh Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Clive Captain Percy A. Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r
Bailey, James (Walworth) Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Bain, Colonel James Robert Coghill, Douglas Harry Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Compton, Lord Alwyne Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds) Corbett, T. L. (Down, Nonth) Fisher, William Hayes
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge Fison, Frederick William
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Cranborne, Lord FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj. Crombie, John William Flower, Ernest
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Crossley, Sir Savile Forster, Henry William
Beckett, Ernest William Cubitt, Hon. Henry Furness, Sir Christopher
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Dalrymple, Sir Charles Gardner, Ernest
Bignold, Arthur Davenport, William Bromley Garfit, William
Bigwood, James Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardign Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond
Black, Alexander William Dewar, John A.(Inverness-sh.) Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans
Blundell, Colonel Henry Dickson, Charles Scott Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Gordon, Hn. J. E.(Elgin & Nrn
Boulnois, Edmund Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Gordon, Maj Evans (Tr. H'ml's
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middx.) Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C. Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc
Brassey, Albert Dorington. Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim
Brotherton, Edward Allen Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Goulding, Edward Alfred
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.
Butcher, John George Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Gretton, John
Caldwell, James Duke, Henry Edward Grev, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick
Campbell. Rt Hn J A (Glasg.) Dunn, Sir William Hain, Edward
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Hall, Edward Marshall Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfricssh Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight
Hamilton, Rt Hn W. Q. (Midx Melville, Boresford Valentine Simeon, Sir Barrington
Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy Mitchell, William Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Hare, Thomas Leigh Molesworth, Sir Lewis Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Harris, Frederick Leverton Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Hatch, Ernest Frederick G. Montagu. Hon. J. Scott (Hants.) Smith, HC (North'mb, Tyneside
Hay, Hon. Claude George Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) More, Robt. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Heath, James (Staffords, N. W Morrell, George Herbert Soares, Ernest J.
Henderson, Sir Alexander Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Spear, John Ward
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert I. Mount, William Arthur Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Hoare, Sir Samuel Murray, Rt Hn A. (Graham (Bute Stone, Sir Benjamin
Holland, Sir William Henry Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Myers, William Henry Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hoult, Joseph Nicol, Donald Ninian Talbot, Rt Hon J. G. (Oxf'd Univ
Houston, Robert Paterson Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham Norman, Henry Tennant, Harold John
Jacoby, James Alfred Norton, Capt. Cecil William Thomson, F. W. (York. W. R.)
Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Thorburn, Sir Walter
Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Thornton, Percy M.
Jones, David B. (Swansea). Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Parkes, Ebenezer Toulmin, George
Kearley, Hudson E. Partington, Oswald Valentia, Viscount
Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley Vincent, Col Sir C. E H {Sheffi'ld)
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. Percy, Earl Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Kennedy, Patrick James Pirie, Duncan V. Wason, E. (Clackmannan)
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop Platt-Higgins, Frederick Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
King, Sir Henry Seymour Pretyman, Ernest George Webb, Col. William George
Knowles, Lees Price, Robert John Weir, James Galloway
Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm. Purvis, Robert Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton
Laurie, Lieut. -General Randles John S. Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd
Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Ratcliff, R. F. Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)
Lawsom, John Grant Rattigan, Sir William Henry Whiteley, H. (Ashton-un.-Lync
Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham) Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Whitley J. H. (Halifax)
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Renwick, George Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Leng, Sir John Ridley, Hon M. W. (Stalybridge) Wiilloughby de Eresby, Lord
Lockie, John Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson Wilson John (Glasgow)
Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.
Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale) Robertson, H. (Hackney) Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Robinson, Brooke Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Lyttelton. Hon. Alfred Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Wortley, Rt. Hon C. B. Stuart
Macdona, John Cumming Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Maconochie, A. W. Rothschild, Hon. L. Walter Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Royds, Clement Molyneux Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong
M'Crae, George Runciman, Walter
M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Majendie, James A. H. Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Sir Alexander Acland
Malcolm, Ian Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland) Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Markham, Arthur Basil Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Martin, Richard Biddulph Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)

Original Question put, and agreed to.

And, it being alter half-past Seven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.