HC Deb 01 March 1904 vol 130 cc1369-433

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That 131,100 men and boys be employed for the Sea and Coast Guard Services for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1905, including 20,656 Royal Marines."

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

said he presumed it would be understood that on that Vote they would have a general discussion on the various points of detail which arose on the statements of the Secretary to the Admiralty made on the previous day. He did not propose himself to detain the House for more than a very few minutes, but he wished to mention one or two points, on which he thought the remarks he had to make would not be of an altogether agreeable nature to the hon. Gentleman. He would perhaps allow him to say that he was skipping compliments for the purpose of saving the time of the Committee, but he might remark that the whole House was very pleased with the statement made by the hon. Gentleman, and he hoped he would bear in mind that if he did not allude to it in any detail his only object was to save the time of hon. Members. He spoke as one of those who were friendly to the policy of the Board of Admiralty, and he was prepared even to support it in what many thought was its extravagance—what some hon. Members thought was extravagance in the present Estimates. So long as we were spending such vastly greater sums of money upon the Army of the Empire, he did not think it was possible to object to the policy of the Admiralty. It was an extraordinary fact that, in all calculations on the subject of the expenditure on the Army, the cost of the Army outside the United Kingdom was never taken into account. It was the case that we were spending vastly more upon the land services than we were upon our naval services, and so long as that was so, he confessed he should view with more than indulgence what was called the extravagant policy in regard to the Navy. There were two points which he wished to bring before the Committee on this occasion, and in regard to them he was obliged to assume an attitude somewhat hostile to the Board of Admiralty. Perhaps, however, when the Secretary to the Admiralty had been longer in office he would come to admit that the Lords of the Admiralty were, after all, only human, and that they were fallible. On the preceding day the hon. Gentleman was a little bit inclined to put the authority of the Board of Admiralty somewhat too high. The Board of Admiralty themselves had had on many occasions to admit that they had made mistakes like other human beings. In the First Lord's statement in the present year he took credit, as he did also last year, for the change in connection with the School at Greenwich. In that matter the Board of Admiralty, only six or seven years ago, suggested to Mr. Goschen, who was then First Lord, that it was a ridiculous suggestion which had been made, yet the proposal which they then treated as ridiculous, although based on the experience of foreign countries, had since been accepted by the Admiralty, who sought to take credit for a very great achievement. That was a point upon which he thought the Admiralty might go a great deal farther than they had already done.

Now he came to the first of the two points to which he wished to draw the attention of the Committee, and that was this: The hon. Member for Dundee on the previous day had spoken of the frankness of the Admiralty, and undoubtedly, as a rule, they did make very fair and full statements as to their policy. What he desired to refer to shortly was the extraordinary proportion of breakdowns in connection with cruisers during the recent manœuvres. There were in that House hon. Members who had strong opinions upon the subject of boilers, but, personally, he had always been content to accept the authority of others on that subject. He had never pretended to have an opinion himself upon a topic in regard to which he was obviously incompetent to form one. Judging, however, by what had occurred in all foreign fleets, he had come to the conclusion that it was not the class of boiler so much as the men who worked the boilers who were at fault. The very fact that the French navy had returned to the original Belleville boiler, and were now putting it in their new large ships, and the fact that the Admiralty itself boasted that the Belleville boiler had been giving more satisfaction of late, showed that the breakdowns of these boilers in many cases were attributable rather to lack of training in the stokers than to inherent defects. The Admiralty had placed before the country a very full and detailed report of the manœuvres, and they had shown with much frankness that an extraordinary state of things had existed—a state of things which, if it had obtained at the beginning of a war, would have brought about a terrible diminution in the proper strength of the Navy of this country. That was a very alarming condition of affairs, and he imagined that the Admiralty had come to the conclusion that whit had happened in our case would happen elsewhere. It was an undoubted fact that foreign fleets were now trying to enlist skilled men at high rates of wages for stoking duties, and this, therefore, was a matter which deserved further attention at the hands of the Admiralty, who ought to lay before the House further proposals for the training of stokers. They were taking power to engage a large number of additional stokers this year; they knew a great number were taken on a few years ago and that the results were admittedly unsound, and he would urge on the Government that, if they could make some reassuring statement as to what steps they were taking in order to prevent such an enormous proportion of breakdowns in the engineering departments of cruisers freshly commissioned for manœuvres or for war, it would give great satisfaction to the Committee.

Then there was a matter which was mentioned on the previous night by two speakers on the opposite side of the House, the question of the designs of the new battleships. On that point he was not at all satisfied with the explanations which had been given by the Government. What had occurred? Great expectations had been held out to them as to the improvements which were to be effected in the new battleships to be laid down, as compared with those which had been laid down within the last year or two. But they had been told that the plans for the new ships had worked out to too large vessels, and that the slips in the dockyards became vacant at an earlier period than was expected. The first fault ought not to have occurred. One would have thought that so scientific a department as the Construction Department of the Admiralty would have had some general idea as to the size which the ships would work out at when they contained improvements of secondary armaments. In regard to the second excuse that had been given, he had looked back over the Questions which had been asked by Members interested in the Fleet, and he had found that those Members had stated pretty accurately—on the basis, he supposed, of dockyard rumour—when the slips would become vacant. He was bound to say, therefore, that the excuses which had been put forward by the Admiralty were not sufficient to stand detailed examination, and he thought they ought to insist on a clearer statement as to how it was that this breakdown had occurred in the Chief Constructor's Department in the case of these new vessels.


said that in regard to the designs of our battleships undoubtedly the Admiralty was always behind the private designer. The Constructive Department was always a little astern in the matter of construction, but at the same time it was satisfactory to know that every change made in the designs of our battleships was a change for the better. He hoped that in the new designs provision would be made for electric hoists for ammunition. The question of boilers had always been a very sore one with him. No doubt the Belleville boiler was the worst type of water-tube boiler that could have been secured, but even it had never had fair play at the hands of the Admiralty, and it was a noteworthy fact that it was not until five years after it had been introduced that instructions were issued to the Navy as to the way in which the boiler should be handled. With the water-tube boiler a new era came in, and stoking had become a fine art instead of merely a mechanical labour. The failure to properly train our stokers was undoubtedly the cause of the failure of the water-tube boiler. He did not think, however, that they would have cause of complaint on that ground in the future.

Now he came to the general question of the enormous increase in the Navy Estimates. These Estimates amounted to £42,000,000, and the Committee must remember that there were invariably Supplementary Navy Estimates amounting to £1,500,000 or £2,000,000. He ventured to assert that that was a most amazing sum to demand. He well remembered, when he was sitting on the opposite side of the House, and discussing the Navy Estimates for the year, which amounted to only £16,000,000 sterling, he told the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, whose approaching disappearance from Parliament they all regretted, that if he only liked to come down and ask the House for £30,000,000 for the Navy he would be able to obtain it. The right hon. Gentleman on that occasion laughed him to scorn, but now the Government were asking not for £30,000,000 but for £42,000,000 for the Navy Estimates, a most enormous increase in an extraordinarily short period of time. How were they to regard this great increase in the naval expenditure of the country? In his opinion, and he frankly admitted it, the Estimates were too large by several millions. They were larger than they need be. But then, no doubt, the Admiralty based its policy upon secret information which the Government alone possessed, and therefore he was bound to be very cautious in his criticisms of their proposals.

In regard to the public aspect of the question, it certainly did seem to the man in the street that the occasion had now arisen when there should be a diminution rather than an increase effected in the Navy Estimates. Recent events had undoubtedly to a very considerable extent altered the balance of power, and that balance might be still further altered in the very near future. The hon. Gentleman who presented the Estimates with, what he might perhaps be permitted to call, great perspicuity and ability, seemed to be altogether erroneous in the ideas he put forward. He told them that they were adhering to the two-Power standard, but he gave an entirely new version of that standard, and he practically increased it to a three, four, or even five-Power standard. He understood the hon. Gentleman to say that they still adhered to the two-Power standard in regard to battleships, but that in regard to cruisers they felt bound to go beyond it in order to meet the special requirements of our trade. He did not agree with that at all. He would like to remind the hon. Gentleman that the purpose of the Fleet—battleships and cruisers together—was to get at the enemy to destroy him or to hold him in port so that he could cause no harm to anybody. The battleship was, no doubt, the principal fighting item of the Fleet, but the cruiser was the handmaiden of the battleship—it constituted its ears and its eyes, it was the auxiliary portion of the Fleet. The purpose of the cruiser and the battleship together was to obtain the full command of the sea. To blockade was not altogether the traditional policy of the British Navy. It watched the enemy as a cat watched a mouse, but it was not its sole desire to blockade him in a port, it rather preferred to tempt him out and either to absolutely smash him in the open sea or to be smashed itself. Having smashed the enemy it secured the command of the sea. That was what occurred at the time of the battle of Trafalgar. After that battle we held command of the sea, and the convoying duties of our cruisers became a mere matter of form, because our merchant ships went freely everywhere. Very few of them were captured by privateers and many of those which were were recaptured before they reached the enemy's ports.

In regard to the two-Power standard it was very difficult to draw comparisons, but an answer which had been circulated by the hon. Gentleman enabled the House to make some sort of comparison—which he thought was a not very unfair one in regard to the Fleets. They had got the cost of the Fleets of France, Russia, Germany, and America for the year 1903. There were, of course, different standards of comparison. Some people compared the tonnage, others compared numbers, and both comparisons were equally misleading. He thought it was not an unfair comparison to take the cost of the vessels, because that represented, more or less, the actual results. Now, they found that in 1903, France spent £12,000,000, Russia £12,000,000, Germany £10,000,000, and America £16,000,000, on their respective navies, and if they took France, Russia, and Germany, or indeed if they took the three highest expenditures, those of America, Russia, and France, they had a total of £40,000,000 expenditure on the navies of those countries combined, whereas we were going to spend no less than £42,000,000 this year on our Navy. That certainly did not represent a two-Power standard; it approximated to a three-Power standard. In his opinion that comparison was, however, rather unfair, as this country got more for its money than any other country in the world. This country got more for its money than France or Russia, infinitely more than Germany, and a great deal more than the United States. All that suggested to him a reinforcement of his view that the Estimates were on the whole rather too high. But then, again, whereas he would cut down the Army ruthlessly—indeed he would not be afraid to abolish the Army and increase the metropolitan police instead—he felt very timid indeed in touching the Navy. The Navy was the very last thing that would be reduced by anyone who felt any kind of adequate interest in the relative value of the services, and although he did strongly feel on his own information, which he admitted must necessarily be imperfect, that the Navy Estimates were too large, he must support them because they were brought in on the responsibility of a Government which ought to know, and which probably had secret information which would justify them. Therefore he was not prepared to question the Estimates from that point of view. He could not, however, compliment the First Lord of the Admiralty on either his English or his arrangement of facts. The First Lord stated that several Questions were asked in reference to the two Chilian cruisers, but, as a matter of fact, the only Question asked was one which he himself asked on March 2nd. He presumed, however, that that statement was a slip. It was now stated that the original cost of the cruisers was £2,200,000 and that they were ultimately obtained for £1,800,000. That was a saving of £400,000, but an extra £400,000 was to be spent on the cruisers.


said that was not so; the only extra expense would be for ammunition which would have had to be incurred if the Admiralty had built the ships.


said it certainly looked as if there was to be extra expenditure. He wished to mention two other points. One was the question of markmanship. In his opinion the markmanship of the Navy during the last two years had been absolutely doubled in efficiency. That was not too much to say, and he thought it was almost wholly due to the very great ability and energy of Captain Percy Scott, who had worried everyone, from the First Lord downwards, in a way which had produced such admirable results. Captain Scott was, he believed, still at the head of the "Excellent," which was the scientific establishment connected with this matter, and he was the author of many valuable inventions. In point of marksmanship, or, as it was more accurately called quick-hitting, the Navy was quite twice as good as it was two years ago. If that were so its effective value was not only doubled but absolutely quadrupled, and he congratulated the Admiralty on the advance which had been made in the matter. He could not help thinking that much of this advance was perhaps due to the fact that the Admiralty now recognised that every officer in the Fleet, from the Admiral down to the lowest gunnery-lieutenant, was to be held responsible for the marksmanship. Previously the gunnery-lieutenant was not allowed the time or the opportunity for practice, because the captain or the Admiralty desired something else, but it was now absolutely established that everyone in the fleet, squadron, or ship, who had any authority at all, was responsible. That was of enormous importance, and he thought it would have a most beneficial effect on the marksmanship of the Navy. He was extremely glad it had been adopted.

Then as to the question of oil fuel, eleven years ago he ventured, in this House, to call attention to the extreme desirability of oil fuel for the Navy. This was not the moment to discuss the great facility with which a ship could be oiled as compared with coaled, as well as the saving of stoking and the saving of engines and boilers. He had, however, always recognised that there were certain difficulties of a nature which he did not desire to dwell upon. There were many reasons why those difficulties should not be dwelt upon in the House. But where he thought the Admiralty were slack was that after twenty years' experiment the results which might have been expected had not yet arrived. He was now informed that considerable improvements had been affected, and that others were in process of completion, but his own experience of the original experiments was that they were conducted in that halfhearted way in which men set about a thing which they believed was certain to fail, and that method was not calculated to produce good results. He would repeat that his private opinion, so far as he was acquainted with the circumstances, led him to believe that the Estimates were higher than they needed to be, but he felt bound to recognise that there must be information in the possession of the Government which he did not have, and which justified the Government in their responsibility of presenting to the Committee Estimates the like of which were never seen before.


said that yesterday the House was engaged in discussing a definite Motion submitted by his hon. friend for the reduction of naval armaments by international agreement. Having disposed of that Motion, the Committee was now at liberty to consider the Estimates on their merits. It had been a frequent cause of complaint in recent years that large Navy Estimates had been thrown before the House without any explanation or justification. This year there had been a justification and explanation in the Statement of the First Lord to which he wished to refer. The First Lord said that the Estimates were due to the responsibility cast by Parliament on the Admiralty to provide the country with a Navy strong enough to sustain a struggle with the navies of any two other Powers and to secure the sea-borne trade and commerce of the country. That would seem to be two objects, but in reality they were only one object. He did not believe that the trade and commerce of the country could be defended except by the destruction of the enemy's Fleet. If that were the true policy for this country it would also be the true policy for the enemy, who would abstain from attacking the trade and commerce of this country because they would not have the strength to spare for that purpose. The only protection for trade and commerce was the protection involved in smashing up the navies of the Powers opposed to this country. The Secretary to the Admiralty spoke of the extent of the trade and commerce of the country in terms which he ventured to challenge. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the trade of the Kingdom as being £1,200,000,000 sterling, but that was the trade of the Empire. There was a sentence or two from the Statement of the First Lord of the Admiralty on this point which he would quote. In the year 1900 the First Lord said— The sea-borne trade was between £1,100,000,000 and £1,200,000,000 but about one-fourth was trade in which the taxpayers of the United Kingdom had no interest either as buyer or seller, for it was intercolonial trade. The taxpayer of the United Kingdom had therefore the privilege not only of taking upon himself the lion's share of the burden, but also a not less share of the burden not his own but exclusively that of his fellow subjects beyond the sea. That fact should not be forgotten when the extent of our trade and commerce was being considered. With regard to the true purpose of naval defence, surely one consequence of that principle was that in comparing other Navies with our own we should consider the battleship and also the strong cruiser elements. He wanted to draw a contrast between our own and other navies in respect of the battleship and the strong cruiser element with regard to the suggested standard set up by the First Lord of the Admiralty in his Statement. The First Lord relied upon the two-Power standard. A good many hon. Members of the House were not perhaps aware of the facts at the time when that standard was invented, but it had not an abstract significance and did not mean any two Powers, but it was a polite way of saying that we must have a Navy strong enough to meet the possible combination of France and Russia against us. It was a piece of Parliamentary politeness, and it was not an abstract formula. The First Lord of the Admiralty said Parliament had imposed the standard. He wanted to consider whether they had exceeded or fallen short of that standard, and he wished to refer to a statement made by the present First Lord of the Admiralty about the beginning of July, 1901. That was the time of the Mediterranean scare, and the First Lord was on his defence against critics who attacked him, not for the largeness, but for the small- ness of his Estimates, and his arguments went to show that they were adequate and large enough. He said— If you look at the battleships, and take them in the year 1901, of all the navies of the world, you will find that the naval power of Great Britain is equal to half the navies of the rest of the world. That was his statement, and it was in the light of that statement that he would proceed to examine by other tests the relative strength of the Navy. Accepting the battleships and the heavy cruisers as the proper type of naval strength, he would attempt to compare our own Navy with other Navies. He would take the Return which was moved for by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. In May, 1903, the ships, built and building, in the British Navy counted fifty-seven battleships, and at that time all the ships of other navies, built and building, counted 114. In other words, the battleship strength of the British Navy in 1903 was exactly equal to one half of all the other Navies of the world put together, which was the same result as that alluded to by Lord Selborne in the year 1901.

He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon was not in his place, because he put a Question yesterday upon this point which he thought was treated with some asperity by the Secretary of State for War, who followed him in the debate. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer, alluding to a statement made by his hon. friend opposite as to their battleship strength, asked what the tonnage was, and the Secretary of State for War repudiated the relevancy of such a Question. No doubt tonnage was not a conclusive test, but it was not an irrelevant thing to ask; it was a very important element, and it had the great advantage of being intelligible to members of the Committee to whom other tests might be submitted without producing much impression. He thought at the time that the Secretary for War received the Question with less respect than was due to it. He would now proceed to answer the Question with all the qualifications he had made as to its significance. What was the result? The same Return to which he had already referred, for 1903, gave in first-class battleships built and building the tonnage of the British Navy as 786,000 tons. The three highest European Powers, namely France, Russia, and Germany had a total battle ship tonnage at the same time of 770,000 tons. He was speaking of first-class battle-shipsalone asdeseribed in the Return asked for by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean. If he threw in the other three Powers which were usually counted, the result was that the tonnage of first-class battleships belonging to Great Britain was in excess of one half of the rest of the navies of the world, and this confirmed the estimate made by the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1901. He had information a little later than the Return he had referred to, and taking armoured and protected cruisers of the first and second class together, which he would group as the big cruiser class. they had belonging to the British Navy ninety vessels, while all the other Powers in the world only number 106. That, of course, was far beyond a two-Power standard and in excess of the real standard at which they had been aiming, namely, equality with one-half of the rest of the Navies of the world. In the same year, according to another Return which they owed to his hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth, in 1903 the Navy Estimates of Great Britain, including what was due to naval works, amounted to £35,000,000, which was £7,000,000 below the Estimates for this year. When this country was spending £35,000,000 in 1903 all the other great Powers were spending as follows: France £12,500,000; Russia £10,500,000; Germany £10,000,000; Italy £5,000,000; the United States £16,000,000; and Japan £3,000,000; or a total of £57,000,000, as against £35,000,000 spent by Great Britain alone. That was more than a two-Power standard, and far more than the standard of equality of one-half of the rest of the Navies of the world. This two-Power standard was nothing more than a sort of rule-of-thumb. He thought the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean would bear him out when he said that he had never felt bound by that standard, which was a rough and ready mode of estimating what our naval strength ought to be. He wished to warn the hon. Gentleman of the danger of setting this up as an abstract formula. It was dangerous because there were such things as naval alliances and there were such things as understandings that did not amount to alliances. Were they going to build against Japan for instance, or against the United States? The late Chancellor of the Exchequer accepted that pro position, but he did not think it really entered into the intentions of the Admiralty. Then came this proposal, if the Admiralty were to take account of ships which appeared in foreign programmes, ought they not also to take account of ships which disappeared from those programmes? If the two-Power standard was to be set up as an abstract formula, such questions as that would have to be dealt with. Moreover, the Admiralty would have to recognise not only progressive but also stationary programmes. Franco had a great burst of activity after the Fashoda crisis, but she had got tired of the competition and had reduced her Navy Estimates from £13,000,000 to £12,000,000. He asked the representative of the Admiralty to state what account had been taken by the authors of these Estimates not only of the disappearance of ships against which we had built, but also of the reduction in naval programmes which had been held up as necessitating corresponding action on our part.

With regard to the two Chilian ships, if the programme was not being extended, surely the addition of those ships ought to have resulted in the withdrawal of two ships from the programme of the coming year. As he understood, one proposed ship was to be withdrawn and the construction of another postponed.


pointed out that the commencement of two others was to be postponed, with the possibility of another being withdrawn later.


said that that explanation would acquit him of the necessity of pursuing the topic further. One other matter to which he wished to refer was the new system of selecting cadets for the Navy. He had never pretended that he regarded with anything but horror the submitting of tender infants of twelve years to competitive examinations. The new system had two distinct disadvantages, it necessarily barred out selection by merit and it added enormously to the expense of a naval education. The policy was a dangerous one because it excluded from the naval service all but an infinitesimal proportion of the young train and muscle of the country, and it would result in naval officers being more governed by class selection and influenced by class prejudice than was the case at present. The object of Mr. Goschen's preposals—which were very different from those now made and to which also he strongly objected—was to get for the Navy public school boys, whom Mr. Goschen regarded as the finest material possible. The public schools wholly failed to meet the demand, and the present proposals were the result. By "public schools" Mr. Goschen meant the old-fashioned public schools with their passion for athletics and their contempt of knowledge. ("Oh, oh!"] He was basing his statement on professional expert opinion, because Col. Maud, a recognised authority, in a public lecture on the selection and nomination for the Army, recently declaged that if he had his choice between boys from Board schools and boys from the public schools of England, he would choose the former. The ordinary public schools having failed to meet the demand, the Admiralty had determined to set up a "Naval Eton" of its own, and it was proposed to take boys in at this early age, without competition, practically without examination, practically by nomination. He did not agree that much was gained by selecting young officers at so early an age, before they had had time to make up their minds as to their future careers and before their intellect and judgment had had an opportunity to mature. The effect of the scheme would be to limit the class of naval officers to a very small portion of the population.


It always has been so limited.


said it would be more than ever the case now. Any system was bad which would shut out from the naval service 95 per cent. of the youth of England. As an example of what he believed to be the better way, he instanced the course adopted by Japan after full inquiry among foreign navies. A Japanese naval officer speaking last week, stated that the Naval College of Japan was open to every male subject between sixteen and twenty with the exception of those who were married or had undergone any punishment, and bankrupts. The whole of the expense of the training, food, and clothing was provided out of Government funds. The examination had two sides, physical and educational. Anyone who failed in the physical examination was not entitled to be examined educationally. The educational examination included mathematics, Japanese literature, English grammar and translations, physical science and so on. The number of candidates for cadetships in the Japanese Navy last year was 1995; the number who passed the physical examination was 1400, the number who passed the qualifying examination was about 400. and the number of those filially selected was 180. There was no doubt that after such a process of selection those 180 were the very pick of the brain and muscle of Japan, and he thought a somewhat similar system would be the best for the British Navy. He believed that in the American Naval College the whole of the expense of the cadets' education was borne by the State, and that even the wealthiest parents were not allowed to send any pecuniary assistance to their sons during the period of training. If the whole expense of the training of naval officers was placed on the State the country would be able to command all the resources of the nation for the Navy. That would be a better system than the new-fangled plan lately adopted by the Admiralty, Which, coupled with the increased Estimates, was attended with certain danger. He had never spoken without a sense of the overwhelming importance of the Navy for Britain's defence, and it was with that sense of responsibility he desired to point to the danger involved in excessive Estimates and the divorce of the Navy from popular feeling, to which the growing exclusion of the youth of the country from the class of naval officers might lead. It was the dread of such a reaction which made him refer to these matters. If the Estimates increased to an extent which public opinion did not approve there would be a reaction against the Navy which would be far more dangerous than the reaction which had already set in against the Army. He wanted to se the Navy strong, and for that purpose he defended the position he had taken up that they ought to be able to connect every rank in the Navy with every rank of the people, and every rank ought to be open to every class within these realms.


said he thought the hon. Member opposite represented the feelings of all classes in the country when he said that if the money asked for by the Admiralty was properly spent it would not be begrudged. With regard to the age of the boys joining the Navy, he thought it must be something like it was at present if they were to do without training in the college. He would not deal further with the point at the present moment because perhaps it would come up on the Education Vote. There was the objection to the present system that it was an extremely costly one. He hoped his hon. friend would give them more information, because there were rumours that a very large number of the boys had not turned out very satisfactorily as regarded their capacity for taking in the information they were supposed to acquire. He hoped they had been able to secure boys at any rate of average ability. He knew that many years ago the age was twelve and a half years to fourteen years and then the competition was limited by nomination. The main point, however, they had to consider, was whether these enormous Estimates were necessary for the country and whether they had been justified. They also wished to know whether for the money they were voting they were going to get a thoroughly good return. Last year the Admiralty thought £34,500,000 was quite sufficient for the requirements of the Navy apart from the sums taken under the Naval Works Act. Since then Supplementary Estimates had been granted amounting to £1,300,000, and if they added that to the Estimates of this year they would have an increase of about £4,000,000 in all. He did not think they had had quite sufficient information put before them to show that such a large increase was justified. Like the hon. Member for King's Lynn, however, he would hesitate to vote against the sum which was put before the Committee on the responsibility of those who were in the best position to know what money was required. Nevertheless he hoped they would have some information upon the points he had mentioned. He quite understood that there had been a large increase owing to the pushing forward of the construction of ships now being built, and upon those now being repaired in private dockyards. All that was necessary to have the Fleet in a condition ready for active service, but he did not think it justified such a very large shipbuilding programme.

He wished to refer to some of those cruisers laid down some years ago, and which had not come up to expectation. He referred more particularly to those of the "County" class. They had light armaments, and although their speed was good he had heard that they had not acquitted themselves well in a heavy sea. Another point which had been alluded to was that of the design of new battleships. A distinguished naval officer had told him that, undoubtedly, there was great advantage in having eight ships all of the same design, but he ventured to think there was no admiral who would not prefer to have five of the "King Edward VII." type and three of a superior design. Ho did not think it was creditable to the Construction Department that the Admiralty should one year inform the House that they intended to build ships of a new design, and the next year have to inform the House that they had been unable to obtain the design, and he hoped this would not occur again in the future. One thing which was certainly to our advantage in the purchase of the Chilian ships was that they were of a different design, and they met many objections which had been raised to the very large tonnage in our later battleships. Therefore he hoped the Admiralty would give them a thorough test in order to see whether the objections they had, and perhaps very properly had, to ships of that class might be removed, and their good points embodied in our battleships in the future. The next point was that of the personnel. In this year's Estimates there was a large increase both for personnel and shipbuilding. As far as he could see the other Votes had been kept down, and the amount for coal was somewhat less than usual, although one would have thought that that was hardly justifiable. It appeared that the Admiralty had done their best to keep down expenses outside the shipbuilding. With regard to personnel there was the question of promoting captains at a younger age to the rank of admiral, and he would like a little further information on that matter. According to this change admirals would retire at an earlier age and the list of pensions would be very greatly increased. With reference to promoting captains at an earlier age, they required some more information as to what the extra cost would be on the Navy Estimates in years to come, owing to earlier retirement of officers.

Another way in which a saving might be effected was in developing the system of short service. He was glad to see that the Admiralty were entering surgeons for Admiralty work temporarily, for in this way they would get a larger number of men accustomed to sea life who would probably be available in time of war. Another point he wished to call attention to was the large number of men locked up in ships, which although they were useful in time of peace were practically useless in time of war. On the China Station they had a large number of sloops which would have to return to Hong-Kong if war broke out. He wished to know what was going to happen to those men? He thought that having spent so much on foreign dockyards they might have had some ships in reserve abroad to which the crews of those sloops might be transferred in time of war. He was glad to see that in these Estimates no money was taken for the building of this kind of ship, which were practically useless from a naval point of view. With regard to the new squadron raised for the Atlantic he thought that in the course of a few months time it would be equal in size to the one at the Cape. At the same time there was a danger in increasing their commands, and this was a matter which should be carefully considered. He thought it was rather bad policy for the Government to ask the House to spend an enormous amount of money upon accommodation for the Fleet at the Cape of Good Hope, when the squadron there was to be reduced. There were many things which made one feel that the money had not been spent to the best advantage. A certain amount of money had been somewhat—he did not say wasted, but had not been made to go quite as far as it might-have done. The Admiralty in the course of the past year had initiated some very important reforms. There was a more modern spirit prevailing now. In regard to gunnery he thought the improvement was owing, perhaps, to the efforts of Captain Scott. A great many reforms had been initiated by Admiral Fisher. He hoped the spirit of progress would continue, and that they would get rid of old and useless traditions. He hoped also that the Admiralty would give an assurance that they were looking most carefully into expenditure, and that they would make perfectly certain who were getting the best value for our money.

* SIR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

said he wished to refer to the question or the supply of steam coal for the Navy. It was a well-known fact that smokeless steam coal was fast diminishing, and the fact that it was fast diminishing constituted in his opinion a national danger. He thought the Admiralty should look to this by laying up for itself in some way or other a large supply of smokeless steam coal. This had been lately emphasised by some important letters which had appeared in The Times, written by the well known geologist, Professor Boyd Dawkins, of the Victoria University, Manchester. This kind of coal was very restricted in its amount. He believed that a small amount of it v. as to be found in Belgium, but the principal centre where it was found was in South Wales. We had not very much information with regard to it, because the Board of Trade Returns did not differentiate between steam coal and the smokless steam coal which was especially useful for our ships, but Mr. Robson, Inspector of Mines for the Swansea District, estimated the total area in South Wales of the smokeless semi-bituminous coalfield at 158 square miles. A Royal Commission was sitting to inquire how much of this was unworked and how much of it would be useful for naval purposes. The subject was one for careful consideration on the part of the Admiralty. From the Returns of the export of coal he found that in 1902 something like 43,000,000 tons were exported, and of that amount 19,000,000 were exported from Cardiff, Swansea, and Newport. The Returns did not show how much of that coal was for naval purposes, but the presumption was that the greater portion was for naval purposes on the part of our foreign neighbours. He found that 7,500,000 tons went to France, and between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 tons to Russia. He found from the Returns for 1903 that out of 44,000,000 tons exported 34,000,000 tons consisted of steam coal. One recent contract alone for Japan was, he understood, for something like 80,000 tons. No doubt this was for smokeless steam coal for naval purposes. He approved of the suggestion which had already been made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil that the Admiralty should purchase an area of the South Wales coal field. He suggested that they should purchase 10,000 acres of it, and keep it unworked for naval purposes. The smokeless steam coal should not be kept in any other form, because, when stored it deteriorated in value. He knew at the same time that in France smokeless steam coal had been stored. He was informed that recently it was impossible for the Government to obtain what ware called "spot cargoes" of this coal because the coal was going to nations like Russia and Japan. We had in this country a monopoly of this smokeless steam coal, which would give us a great advantage in time of war. He suggested that the Royal Commission should hasten the inquiry, and that they should present an interim Report on this matter, which was of vital importance from the national point of view.


said he should like to put one or two Questions regarding the comparative amounts demanded in this country, in Continental countries, and in America, for naval expenditure. The Secretary to the Admiralty yesterday based the whole question of the Naval Estimates on the two-Power standard. In the Return which the hon. Gentleman was kind enough to furnish yesterday he found that our total naval expenditure for 1904-5, including expenditure under the Naval Works Act, would amount to £42,000,000, exclusive of any Supplementary Estimates which might be presented. How did that compare with the expenditure of foreign nations? He found that the total naval expenditure in 1903 of France, Germany, and Russia amounted in the aggregate to only £35,000,000, so that if our expenditure was compared with that of the principal Continental nations we had not a two-Power standard but a three-and-a-half-Power standard. If he included the naval expenditure of America in 1903, namely, £17,000,000, he found that the total naval expenditure of France, Russia, and America was precisely the same as it was proposed that England should spend in the present year. Therefore, including America among our possible enemies, we were still on a three-Power standard instead of two. It would of course be said at once that the pay of our sailors, who were engaged by voluntary enlistment, was higher than that of compulsory service men abroad. So far as regarded America that argument however did not apply at all because the pay in general for American seamen was in excess of that of English seamen. Even restricting the comparison to Continental compulsory service nations, he thought it would be found that the pay of the Navy did not represent a very large percentage of the whole. So that an explanation of the different rates of pay here and abroad would only go a short distance to furnish the explanation required. On another point, namely, that of naval construction, which represented a large proportion of the total Estimates, he thought the hon. Gentleman would admit that the construction of ships in England might be roughly taken as 33 per cent. cheaper than abroad, and he believed he should be correct in stating that, comparing English construction with American, the cost in this country would be to even a larger proportion cheaper than in America. He should imagine naval construction here was something like 50 per cent. cheaper than in America, and, viewing the matter in a broad sense, he should think the cheapness of construction here fully counterbalanced, and more than counterbalanced, the additional cost of pay under our free system of enlistment. He wanted to know how the Government justified the present Estimates of £42,000,000 in view of the comparatively small expenditure of foreign countries. He was altogether in favour of a strong Navy, but they must draw the line somewhere. It was an obvious danger which lay before this country, that instead of following in the dance of increased Naval Estimates it was we who were leading the dance. Not only to justify the present Estimates but also to prevent a large increase in foreign naval Estimates, a full statement of the comparative progress of the Navy was required. The inclusion in the Return presented yesterday of the expenditure under the Naval Works Act was a very satisfactory new departure, and he would suggest a similar procedure in the case of the Army, where there was also a similar large loan expenditure, and in the case of all those Departments which, outside the ordinary Budget, spent large sums of borrowed capital in the course of the financial year.

* LORD GEORGE HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)

said it was a good many years since he had taken a part in a naval debate in the House. Frequent reference had been made to the standard that our Navy should be equal to the fighting power of the other new navies, and as the author of the standard he might be allowed to refer to the circumstances in which it was adopted. Down to 1885 there was practically only one country which had a great fleet, viz., France. Russia and Germany were developing a sea-going fleet in place of the shallow guardships, and therefore it was thought desirable, considering the overwhelming importance of our commerce, that we should fix on a figure and on an establishment which would be equal to the combined forces of any two nations. He believed that that standard, estimated fairly, was a legitimate standard, and one below which we certainly ought not to go. Looking through the Estimates, he was impressed by two things. Since the Naval Defence Act, the growth of Vote 1, which was for the men, was only 50 per cent., but when the Vote for cnnstruction was come to, the increase was found to be enormous. The expenditure contemplated by the Act to keep the Fleet up to the standard laid down, was £2,600,000 a year, but the amount now asked for new construction was £11,600,000. In other words the increase for construction was 400 per cent., while the increase for personnel was only 57 per cent. At this critical stage of affairs in the Far East, he would not be a party to anything which would prevent the Government getting the money they considered desirable, but he thought we needed some accurate classification of the fighting power of the ships on which our standard was based, because it was very easy by a little manœuvring to show that expenditure was much too great, or much too little. What was really wanted was some accurate classification of our ships, taking ship by ship. Two conditions ought to govern that classification—1st, the size of the ship; 2nd, the date at which it was designed, not the date at which it was put in commission, because we designed and built our ships rapidly, and by making the date that on which she was put in commission, a ship of inferior class might be put into a higher class. The present Board of Admiralty had made many improvements in various directions, and he entirely agreed with the general policy of Lord Selborne, but a tremendous responsibility attached to the expenditure of gigantic sums concentrated in a few hands. At present outside the Admiralty there were a large number of private firms engaged on works connected with munitions of war almost identical with that on which the officials of the Admiralty were engaged. He thought it most desirable that we should draw for consultative purposes on that outside opinion in connection with the design of ships. It should be remembered that the better the design of a ship, the longer would that ship remain an effective fighting machine; and the worse the design the shorter it would remain an effective fighting machine. Therefore, the worse the design the larger would be the expenditure. One of the difficulties in administering Navy affairs was, that there was a natural desire that the Department should not lose touch with the most modern, or what was supposed to be the most progressive, ideas, but which often were the fads of the moment. Over and over again it had occurred that a very large sum of money had been spent on some new idea, and that money was afterwards proved to have been wasted.

There were three branches of expenditure connected with the matériel of the Navy—guns, machinery, and displacement. He thought that the consultative committee of outside engineers which Lord Selborne had established in regard to guns and machinery was a most excellent institution. Might not something of the same kind be established in connection with the designs of our ships? He had every confidence in the present head of the Construction Department of the Admiralty; such ships as he had designed showed his competency. He also thought that anyone acquainted with Sir W. White's work would admit that that gentleman had conferred immeasurable benefits on the Navy by the remarkable series of effective designs he had prepared. But there were certain things connected with our battleships and cruisers which he had never been able to get a satisfactory explanation of from the Admiralty. Take the case of displacement. Foreign constructors allowed more guns, armament, and machinery for a particular displacement than who did. By way of explanation it was said that we gave more accommodation to our men, carried more ammunition, coal, and other things. But, when that had been allowed for, it did not account for the remarkable difference there was between the carrying capacity of British and foreign vessels. The difference must, it seemed to him, be attributable either to our using heavier internal fittings, or to the form of our vessels being less favourable to carrying capacity. He remembered some years ago when discussing the carrying capacity of British and foreign ships with Sir E. Harland, the head of the Belfast firm of shipbuilders, that that gentleman stated that if he were allowed to alter the form of an Admiralty cruiser he could build it to give quite 500 tons more carrying capacity, and an extra half knot of speed, whilst complying with all the other conditions of the Admiralty. Subsequently Sir E. Harland assured him that he could do the same thing in building battleships. He desired, therefore, to suggest that when contracts were given to private yards some latitude should be allowed in altering the form of our ships from that laid down by the Admiralty. His suggestion was two-fold—that the contract should be given to outside shipbuilders, and also that the Admiralty should take into consideration the desirability of having a small Committee with which the head of the Constructive Department might consult. He did not want that body to be anything more than consultative, because he had no desire to impair Executive responsibility in the matter of construction; but if we were to draw somewhat more on the outside experience of private firms, he thought we should minimise the likelihood of mistakes in the future.


said that the Admiralty had every reason to congratulate themselves on the lines the debate had taken. He fully appreciated the recognition which had been made by nearly every hon. Member who had spoken of the efforts of the Admiralty. What was more important, the debate had been fruitful in criticism and suggestion, which the Admiralty fully welcomed, and which could not be but of the greatest service to the country and Navy. He himself felt his personal deficiency in having to answer fully the criticisms which had come from those who, like his noble friend, had himself held for a long period the position of First Lord of the Admiralty, and other hon. Members who had made a life-long study of naval questions, but with the indulgence of the Committee he would do his best to reply. As regards the speech of his noble friend, the accurate comparison of one ship or one fleet with another was a problem of endless difficulty; but he could assure his noble friend that no problem was more often discussed within the Admiralty. When they came to questions of displacement and length, innumerable factors arose which acted and reacted on one another and rendered it impossible that any real conclusion could be arrived at in a Parliamentary debate. He had in his hands a comparison which he thought would throw light on this question, a comparison between the two new ships we had bought—the"Triumph"and the"Swiftsure,"—which were designed by a great constructor, and the "Duncan" class, which were ships of much the same size. Before giving the figures, however, he wished to point out a very important consideration—namely, that if a free hand was given to contractors as to the design of ships, they could not have those homogeneous squadrons to which the Admiralty attached so much import once. Not only was it important to have ships of similar armament, displacement, and speed, but it was also of enormous importance that the position of the guns and the line of fire should be homogeneous. He thought it would be allowed that, whatever might be the ability of any contractor or designer outside the Admiralty, it was only within the Admiralty itself that all these factors and considerations could be properly brought together and receive their due weight. Then, again, it often happened that in comparing one of their own ships to a ship of a foreign nation, some particular point was selected on which their ship came out second. No such criticism, however, on any single point could really in any sense be conclusive unless all the other factors, and the work the two ships were expected to do, were also taken into consideration. He would now give the figures to which he had referred. The "Triumph" and the "Swiftsure" had on the design draft 2,330 tons less displacement than the "Duncan" class. As completed, the "Duncan" class had worked out to a less displacement of 330 tons, so that the actual difference was 2,000 tons almost exactly. In equipment there was a difference of 234 tons, in armament 20 tons, in machinery 595 tons. That his a most important point. The machinery put into their ships was clearly of a stronger class than that put into the ships of any other country. The engines of the "Swiftsure" and "Triumph" were very much quicker running than those of the "Duncan." Other things being equal, it was certainly desirable not to have too quick running engines in a battleship; and the Admiralty believed that, so far as stability and reliability and strength of engines were concerned, this difference of 595 tons was by no means wasted. In armour and protection there was a difference of 580 tons, in coals 100 tons, and 770 tons in the hull. Roughly speaking, for every ton put into a ship it was necessary to add a ton and a half for the necessary space and extra strength of the hull, and he had merely quoted these figures to show that the extra weight had not been thrown away.

There had been a general feeling expressed, which the Admiralty would recognise as fully justified, that a very great responsibility was incurred in asking for this immense sum of money. The question must not be judged entirely by figures, as could be seen from the fact that it was always possible for anyone who desired to prove that we were a long way below the two-Power standard to take figures and do so. He had no doubt his hon. friend the Member for Chester could prove that on behalf of the Navy League.

MR. YERBURGH (Chester)

said he would be very happy to prove that we had got no margin at all.


said that some hon. Members had proved to their own satisfaction that this country had a very large margin indeed. But on the question of how they stood as compared with other countries, there was, he thought, one circumstance of very great importance, and that was, that our Navy was not affiliated to the shores and ports of the United Kingdom. They had the whole world mapped out for naval stations, and in every quarter of the globe it was necessary that our ships should be able to find the accommodation and docks and stores they required, so that they might be absolutely efficient for war-That was a condition of affairs which prevailed in no other country, and it accounted to a large extent for the very heavy expenditure we had as compared with other countries. This country could not afford to take the risk either that a Power which to-day was perfectly friendly would be always friendly, or, on the other hand, that an enemy's ship would always be without the stores and men she required to make her an efficient ship.


Have the Admiralty taken into consideration the position of a strong neutral Power which might possibly interfere in case of our possible struggle with two other Powers?


Yes; every such point is carefully considered. If it was said that it was sufficient if we had a Fleet of such strength that it could smash the enemy's fleet, when the high road of the sea would be open to our commerce, he replied that that needed time. Did anyone consider that we could count on smashing our enemy in the course of a very few weeks, and did he further consider what amount of food supplies and raw material there was in this country at any given time to supply our people?


suggested that, as the policy of an enemy would be to smash our Fleet, they would have no force to spire to attack our commerce.


replied that foreign countries, who, after all, were not all fools, were well aware of our weak points, which were sufficiently advertised in that House. It was well known that we had no long supplies of food or raw material in this country, and therefore it was absolutely necessary in the early stages of a war, and before we had obtained the mastery of the sea, that we should main fain open the ocean highways, otherwise all our expenditure would be rendered futile. That was the reason why the additional force of cruisers was necessary to police the seas over and above the ships, both battleships and cruisers, which were required in order to meet the organised forces of the enemy and blockade his ports. The present conditions of naval warfare were such that it was practically impossible to seal an enemy's port as in the old days, when if the wind was in shore it was impossible for a ship to come out of harbour, and when we knew as well as the enemy the times when it was possible to endeavour to do so. Nowadays a commerce destroyer could issue on the darkest nights in any weather, and the damage that could be done to our commerce in that way was obvious to every one.


My hon. friend does not surely intend to suggest that one or any number of destroyers could starve us out.


said it was not necessary to stop all the avenues to our shores in order to starve us. It would be sufficient to cause enormous distress if the price of commodities or raw material were raised 200 or 300 per cent. by the capture of some important ships.

Turning to other points, he admitted that there were a considerable number of breaksdown of cruisers in the last manœuvres, but this was almost entirely connected with the question of the training of stokers, and the greatest attention was being given to this matter by the Admiralty. It was going too far to say that Osborne was a place only for the sons of the rich. If the expenses which parents would incur during the extra two years their sons now spent at Osborne were compared with the expenses formerly spent upon crammers and examinations, the balance of cheapness would be found largely to lie with Osborne. The Navy never had consisted of the class of rich men, and he was perfectly convinced that nothing in the present scheme would bring about any change in that direction. The Japanese method advocated by the hon. Member must involve several competitive examinations, and it was the opinion of all naval officers with whom he had come into contact that they could not begin the education of a boy too young in a naval atmosphere. The choice as to ages lay between twelve or thirteen and seventeen or eighteen; there was no middle course. It was not quite accurate to say that under the old system the public schools failed to meet the demand. The truth was that the boys went to crammers instead of to the schools, because it was not convenient that they should leave the public schools after such a short stay. The boys were not at the schools long enough to imbibe public school traditions, consequently, as the greatest gain to character was derived from the last two years of the ordinary period of public school life, the object of the Government in desiring that class of boy was largely defeated.

The hon. Members for King's Lynn and Salford had asked questions about fuel and coal. The question of fuel and coal for the Navy was occupying the very careful attention of the Admiralty; but he did not think it would be to the advantage of the country if he were to go into the details. The problem the Admiralty had to solve was the burning of oil fuel in combination with coal, and this clearly affected the question of the coal supplies. He entirely agreed that the particular kind of coal which under present circumstances they were obliged to use was found only in limited areas, and that there was no reason to hope that future discoveries would largely extend those areas. Inquiries, however, were being made on this very question, and not only were the Admiralty in close communication on the question of coal supplies with the Coal Commission, which was now sitting, but they had two Departmental Committees dealing with the question of oil fuel and its application, and experiments were being carried out from day to day. He assured the Committee that the matter was engaging the closest attention of the Admiralty, and he hoped that that would be accepted as a sufficient statement at the present stage. He could not say at the moment what would be the cost on non-effective Votes resulting from the new system of retirement. The object of the Admiralty was to obtain flag-officers in the full vigour of life, and if there was one thing on which naval authorities were more fully agreed than another, it was that, considering the enormous responsibility that was thrown on an admiral of the present time as compared with the admiral of times past, it was of supreme importance to secure for the position young officers in full possession of their mental and physical faculties. As to the question of ships in reserve abroad, it had been suggested that possibly a first-class cruiser might be laid up at Hong-Kong. The matter had been carefully considered, and the Admiralty had come to the conclusion that it was neither economical or possible in the present strength of the Fleet, to send any ships to foreign stations unless they were really required by considerations of the balance of naval power; to adopt any other course would result in more loss than gain.

* SIR M. HICKS BEACH (Bristol, W.)

said he was anxious to say something on two matters of great national importance—the financial question and the question of the Naval Reserve. He thought that with regard to the financial question they all occupied common ground. At least he had heard no difference of opinion among the Members who had taken part in the debate—no matter on what side of the House they sat—that this country occupied an exceptional position with respect to its naval needs, and that we were bound, at whatever cost, to keep our Navy up to the strength that would en-enable the country to retain its position of supremacy. That strength might fairly be taken to be, roughly speaking, the two-Power standard, with something additional in the cruiser class. But what he thought had not been satisfactorily shown by his hon. friend the Secretary of the Admiralty, in spite of the ability and knowledge he had displayed in his speech, was that in the Estimates which were now presented there was not a very considerable expenditure beyond what was required to secure that standard. He hoped he should not be charged with a desire improperly to curtail the expenditure on the Navy. During the years that he was Chancellor of the Exchequer he had made himself responsible for Navy Estimates which were raised from £1 9,000,000 in 1895-96 to over £31,000,000 in 1902–3. He accepted the two-Power standard; he accepted the proposals of the Admiralty in order to keep up to that standard, and he believed that in so doing he was best carrying out his duty to the House and to the country. But since the Estimates of 1902–3—the last for which ho was responsible—the blouse was asked to sanction an additional expenditure of something like £5, 500,000 on the Navy. He did not think his hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty had made out a case for that additional expenditure. He admitted the delicacy of the position in which the representative of the Admiralty found himself in discussing these matters, and he fully agreed as to the difficulty in instituting a comparison ship by ship between our Navy and the navy of another country. But the House was able to apply the test of expenditure. If the Admiralty, having been granted a certain sum of money, had not spent that sum as economically and as efficiently as the naval authorities of other countries spent the amounts that were granted to them, that was the fault of the Admiralty and not of the House Several hon. Members had referred to the growth of our naval expenditure within recent years as compared with that of other Powers. He did not wish to repeat the figures, they told their own tale, and they had not been explained by the Secretary to the Admiralty. The only reply of his hon. friend was, that there were circumstances connected with the requirements of our Fleet in so many quarters of the globe which necessitated a comparatively larger expenditure on the maintenance of our squadrons at sea than was required of other countries. There was one thing in this respect which the Committee ought not to forget, viz., that we certainly did derive enormous advantages from any such increase of expenditure by this fact that so large a proportion of our Navy was always at sea and therefore would be more ready if the time should ever unhappily come to engage in war with any other nation.

He would take what, after all, was the real test in this matter, new construction. He had made a calculation when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, that during the five years ended March, 1901, this country expended £35,000,000 in new construction, whereas France and Russia, the two countries with which we had been generally comparing ourselves, expended something less than £31,000,000 during the same period. There was an excess of £4,000,000 in the five years in the expenditure of this country upon new construction. But that was not all. In 1901–2 our Estimate for new construction was £9,000,000, and so far as he was able to ascertain the new construction of France and Russia cost something under £7,000,000. He had no figures with regard to France and Russia for 1902–3, but our own new construction in that year was estimated also at about £9,000,000. The Estimate for new construction in this year's Estimates was £11,600,000, an increase of £2,500,000. It was considered sufficient by the Government of the day in 1901–2 and 1902–3 to estimate' £9,000,000 for new construction in those two years. Why had £2,500,000 more been put on now. Had there been an increase in the programme of other countries with which we were obliged to compete, such as would justify it? That had never been stated by his hon. friend. He must say that, unless there had been such an increase, he failed to see the justification for the new construction Estimates of the present year. He knew that part of the £11,600,000 was due to the purchase of the two Chilian warships.


Hear, hear!


said part of that was new construction in anticipation of subsequent years. He had failed, however, to hear from his hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty that he anticipated that the amount to be expended on new construction in later years would be diminished by the amount spent on the purchase of those Chilian ships.


said he had stated that they proposed to omit altogether from the programme already approved, one new battleship this year, and possibly another one later on. The total amount taken this year for new programme construction out of £11,600,000, exclusive of the "Triumph" and "Swiftsure." was only £642,000—that was all they were asking for new construction, and the whole of the remainder of the £11,600,000 was to be expended on the construction of ships begun already with the approval and knowledge of the House.


said that was always the way. A small sum was asked for in the beginning of a new programme, and then Parliament was held to be pledged to a very heavy expenditure in subsequent years. He hoped he might understand that the Admiralty intended to diminish our new construction bill in the future by the value of these ships [OPPOSITION cries of "No."]; but the Estimate was still £2,500,000 beyond what was thought sufficient two years ago. What had any two of the strongest Powers spent in new construction during the years that followed 1901, as compared with our own expenditure? The Admiralty were well supplied with an Intelligence Department, and if that information were laid before them they would be in a much better position to appreciate the necessity of these Estimates.

He did not question the necessity of increasing expenditure on the Naval Reserves; he should like to see that Estimate larger than it was. When the present Government came into office in 1895–96, the number of men and boys, permanently employed in the Navy, estimated for was 88,850; in 1904–5, this had increased to 131,000, the increase being continuous. He did not say it had been too great, as compared with the number of ships that had been built. But it was an increase that could not indefinitely go on, not merely on financial grounds, although that was bad enough, involving as it did an increase of barracks, hospitals, pay, clothing, and provisions, which would impose a burden on the country which he did not think the country would tolerate very long. But besides this, if the rate of increase were maintained, they would exhaust their supply, and not be able to find the men required. He saw with great pleasure that the Admiralty were at last doing something to establish a real Reserve, in pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee which was presided over by the right hon. Member for Berwick, but he wished they were moving faster in this direction. He was convinced that we should never have a sufficient number of men for the purposes of our Navy in war until we had established whole heartedly in the naval service, so far as it could be applied to that service, the system of short service and Reserves which worked so admirably in the Army in the course of the South African war. He did not suggest that the two services were identical, because there were reasons for longer service in the Navy than was required in the Army. He thought, however, that more might be done in this direction than had been yet attempted—for instance, stokers might be short service men. He trusted the Admiralty would seriously give their attention to this matter and not be influenced too much by officers, who naturally desired to have as many trained and experienced men in their commands, even in time of peace, as it was possible for them to obtain.

He was only anxious to add with regard to finance, what had already been enforced on the Committee in the progress of this debate. His hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty admitted most frankly that this debate had been one of real value. It had not been confined, as he had heard debates on Naval Estimates confined, to the Members for dockyard boroughs speaking on behalf of their constituents, or to professional men speaking on behalf of naval officers. In the present debate the great question of finance had at last, and none too soon, occupied the attention of the Committee; and, though he hoped no financial difficulty would ever prevent them from voting every penny that was required for the efficiency of the strongest Navy in the world, yet he hoped they would endeavour to ascertain the real grounds of the particular Estimates which the Government from time to time presented, before assuming that the enormous and increasing sums that were perpetually asked for were all of them required.

SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)

thought the right hon. Gentleman had very well presented what was the feeling of the Committee generally with regard to the present Navy Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman spoke in a quiet and resolute tone, but also in a tone of grave warning. The two remarkable features of the debate had been the tremendous size of the Estimates and the quiet matter-of-fact way in which they had been received. But underneath there-had teen a note of warning to the Admiralty that the larger the Estimates became the more incumbent it was upon them to be frank and to satisfy the House of the need for the increasing Estimates. He entirely agreed with his right hon. friend the Member for Stirling Burghs as to the Committee being prepared not to refuse the Admiralty any Vote which they put forward as necessary for the defence of the country. The Committee, as in past years, continued to give its confidence to the Admiralty; but there was a danger, if the Estimates continued to increase, of that confidence being shaken, and, once shaken, very little might serve to impel the Committee to the other extreme. He thought that what was in the mind of the Committee, as, well as in that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol, even more than the amount of the present Estimates, was the fear of an indefinite increase in future years. It was the fact that at present they saw no sign of the increase being arrested which had gone on so rapidly in previous years, and which was causing the gravest anxiety. Was it quite true to say that this increase in our Estimates, which did undoubtedly depend on the increases of the Estimates of other Powers, and therefore depended on the general increase of the Navies of the world, was in no sense the result of our own initiative? The hon. Member for Exeter made a very searching comment when he asked if it was quite certain that we were not in this matter sometimes leading the dance. He remembered that when the Naval Defence Act was proposed, with £21,000,000 the whole programme was put down at once, and the total sum it would cost. And the impression conveyed to the Committee at the time by Mr. Goschen was that, by naming so large a sum, we should discourage the building of other Powers. He believed the effect was exactly the opposite, and that, instead of discouraging the building of other Powers, this great effort on our part had increased the rivalry. In 1885 the standard set and maintained by Mr. Gladstone's Government was to lay down two ships for every one ship laid down by the French Government. Under the Naval Defence Act, the standard changed, and then came the two - Power standard. The two Powers were, of course, France and Russia. But why? Because those two Powers were then the two Powers which had the largest Navies. That standard must not be taken to apply to any two Powers in particular, but to the two Powers which at the time of speaking had the largest Navies. The origin of the rivalry was France. If the happy relations which existed to-day between ourselves and France had existed in previous days, was it quite certain that the French rivalry would have been so great, and was it not possible that, taking France as the second naval Power in the world, if the good relations which now existed between her and ourselves were maintained, it might have a beneficial result in reducing the rivalry between these two nations, and therefore of reducing the two-Power standard? France had stopped her increase; she had actually made reductions. It was staled somewhat emphatically in France last year that at one time she had reduced her naval force in the Mediter ranean. It had occurred to him to wonder whether it would not be possible for us to make some reply, without endangering our maritime supremacy, to that step on the part of France, thus proving our readiness to follow suit. It might be quite possible that the Government of a country like France might not be willing, before its Chamber, to say it was prepared to make reductions, though it might be willing to give practical indications of its disposition to do so. If a Government such as that of France was prepared to do that, and the reduction of her Fleet in the Mediterranean was such an indication, then it was only prompt action on our part in following suit which would enable that Government to maintain its position before its own Chamber and to follow that up by carrying out those reductions as a permanent policy. He held that out rather for the future, because, of course, with this deplorable war in the Far East, it was not a favourable time to expect other countries to choose this moment for making alterations in their naval expenditure or their naval programme. But with regard to the future, when the present trouble passed away, and if our present friendly relations with France were maintained, he hoped that no opportunity would be lost of turning that friendly spirit to practical advantage by some mutual agreement with regard to stopping the increase in the Fleets. There must be a reasonable interpretation of the two-Power standard. It was all very well for to-day, but supposing the United States entered into rivalry in shipbuilding? She had both hands free for that purpose. She had not got to maintain a great standing army as our Continental neighbours had. She was as free as ourselves to say any day that a big Fleet was necessary to her, and she could spend upon that what other nations spent upon their armies. If she chose to take that view, she could, of course, with her enormous population and extraordinary resources. build the greatest fleet the world had ever seen. And therefore, when they talked of the two - Power standard, the Committee ought to bear in mind that that standard must always have a reasonable interpretation, and that circumstances might arise under which policy would have to take the place of the maintenance of the two-Power standard.

With regard to the choice of naval officers, he did not entirely agree with his hon. friend the Member for Dundee. Ho thought the boys ought to be taken young. The experience of naval officers was preponderating, if not unanimous, on the point that they got the best naval officers by taking the boys young. If boys were taken young, then he was entirely against the idea of competitive cramming examinations, and if they did not have competitive examination they were thrown back on the system which the Admiralty had adopted. He hoped the Admiralty were making that system, as he thought they were, a system of, as far as possible, testing general ability and general knowledge. But if the House trusted them to nominate, upon them lay the responsibility to see that the nominations were dealt with without prejudice and with widespread impartiality. He was glad to hear the Secretary to the Admiralty state that there would be no increase of expense entailed on parents who wished to send their sons into the Navy, because he thought that any narrowing of the area would be exceedingly bad. He agreed with the Secretary to the Admiralty that it was not a very hopeful experiment to try to get boys from the public schools for the reasons he stated. He disagreed entirely with his hon. friend the Member for Dundee in his estimate of the public schools. His hon. friend said they gave an inkling of knowledge. He did not dispute that the English public schools had their fair proportion, but not more, of boys who had a natural disinclination for knowledge. But if his hon. friend had known more of the English public schools he would have known that the energy with which the authorities pressed knowledge upon that class of boys was sometimes carried to the point of inconvenience. He discounted some of his hon. friend's prejudice against the English public schools because he knew it was one which was shared by a great many of his hon. friends who came from the North. That it was an honest and genuine opinion on their part he had no doubt, but he did not think it was founded on very large experience, and he was bound to say that he thought it arose to a certain extent from prejudice. But for the other reasons the Secretary to the Admiralty gave, he did not think the English public schools or any public schools were a source to draw from for the Navy. If boys had to enter the Navy at sixteen or seventeen, he did not I think parents would send them to public schools, and he thought, therefore, it was better to follow the confirmed opinion of officers of the Navy, that boys should be taken young without making an effort to get them from public schools.

With regard to the Reserves, he was not prepared to go beyond the decision to which the Committee, of which he was a member, came to with regard to the present introduction of short service in the Navy. He thought the Committee recommended as much as the Admiralty could well put into practice at the present, though there was room for expansion when experience justified that expansion. The Admiralty had not yet been able to bring in operation all the Committees recommendations with regard to the new class of firemen and engine-room artificers, who were as important as any other matter connected with the Reserves. The Admiralty offered very good terms—he might say they were liberal terms, which he thought would be naturally calculated to induce men to enlist for this class of work. But something more than the offer of good terms was required. These men in the reserve class of firemen would have to be drawn from some of the greatest works in the country. They might offer good terms, they might make the men willing to engage, but unless they made arrangements with their employers they would not be able to get the men. They should do everything in their power to make it known that the Admiralty must to a considerable extent in regard to this class of reserve depend on the patriotism of the employers in the great works, many of whom derived a great part of their business direct from the Admiralty, and all of whom had a special interest in this matter.


If I intervene for a few moments in this debate it is not to continue the discussion begun by my right hon. friend on the subject of the Reserve and continued by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. They speak with a knowledge on that matter to which I cannot pretend, and perhaps it is only necessary for me to emphasise what has already been so well put by my hon. friend the Secretary to the Admiralty, that the Admiralty are working not only hard but effectively at this question and that the amount of the Reserve is gradually increasing. I do not wish to labour that point. I rather rise because a broader issue was raised by my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol, and was touched on by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, namely, the magnitude of the present Navy Estimates, and consequently, the necessity, or want of necessity, there may be in our international position for asking from the House and from the taxpayers of the country the enormous sums which I quite admit are asked for the naval power of the country. My right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol, while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, also dwelt upon the dangers which he saw in the growing expenditure of the country, and if he spoke to the House in that sense while he was responsible for its finances, and while he was, of course, bound by the policy to which he was a party, none can complain that, in the position of freedom in which he now finds himself, he should emphasise again the lesson which he has brought to our notice before, and should impress upon the House the absolute necessity under which? were, in the public interest, of examining critically the necessity or the alleged necessity for the immense expenditure on new construction which the House is asked to sanction. I think the warning or my right hon. friend was not only perfectly justifiable in substance and perfectly moderate in tone, but was a valuable warning, and I think the House ought to watch when he sees and they see, how the Navy Estimates are growing; and not merely the amount of the Estimates, but the general European and Asiatic situation, which alone can justify what the country is asked to expend.

The right hon. Baronet opposite cast his memory back to a time when the principle of shipbuilding in this country was that two English ships should be laid down for every single French ship. Of course that period has long passed away, and, for many years now, what has been called the two-Power standard has been in force. There is nothing sacred in the two-Power standard. There is, I fear, no absolute security that in no conceivable circumstances more than two Powers might not be ranged against us. I have certainly always interpreted the two-Power standard as meaning a two-Power standard with something of the nature of a margin. I do not believe that we have exceeded the principle I have just laid down in any programme that we have ever asked the House to sanction before, or which we are asking the House to sanction now. My right hon. friend, I think, based his comparison upon the amount of expenditure for new construction, and I think he thereby raised a very interesting point—the relative cost of construction in various countries. I may say, with regard at all events to one country, and the accuracy of the published figures as to the amount spent in that country upon new construction, that the safer estimate after all is not what the ships cost, but what ships are built, and what the ships are when built. It may be the fact—I do not think it is and I do not think we suspect it to be the fact—that our cost of building is excessive, but after all that is not the point we are now on, although it is important. The point is the strength of the Fleet we have got to provide. That is to be determined not by the amount spent in other countries, avowed or un-avowed, for new construction, but upon the ships actually laid down and our estimate of the time at which the ship are likely to be completed. That is the only solid basis on which we can go; and it is on that that the Admiralty have framed their Estimates for the present year, and I imagine rightly.

Let me remind the Committee of another fact not always present in their minds, but which cannot be lost sight of. Tile mere fact that there are now so many more important navies in the world than there were a quarter of a century ago is in itself considerable cause for anxiety. Supposing—I hardly like even to suggest so tragic a possibility—that we were involved in war with two great maritime Powers—supposing such a war could hardly end without immense losses, immense maritime losses, immense losses in ships and material, both on the part of our enemy and on the part of ourselves. In that case other navies would possibly remain intact, and a country which had not allowed itself to be drawn into the vortex of the war would then occupy a position which they do not occupy now, and that would necessarily put their Government in a position, from the naval and maritime point of view, which they do not at present occupy. You cannot put aside that possibility. For a Minister even to mention the possibility of war is a thing which I am very reluctant to do, and I do not think for a minute that any such dreadful contingency is one that we have at present any reason to apprehend; but when we are talking of our Navy we are talking about the possibility of war, for if war were not possible we would not have a Navy; and I am forced, therefore, when I am indicating in general outlines the reasons which have compelled the Government to call, in these Estimates, on the country to make such great sacrifices, to state possibilities which did not exist twenty-five years ago, and which every year makes more important—I will not say more menacing—but, at all events, brings home more and more clearly to those who are responsible for the naval and military policy of the Empire.

Of course, it is mere commonplace, familiar to every man in this House, and which necessarily comes up in every debate, that our position in relation to the Navy is different from that of every other nation in the world. The right hon. Baronet has mentioned America. What possible comparison can there be between the dependence of America on her Navy and the dependence of Great Britain on ours. There is no comparison. And if there is no comparison in the case of America is there a comparison in the case of France? Is there a com parison in the case of Germany, which is not open to attack; or in the case of Russia, which is absolutely free from any attack by sea, except in the extreme far eastern limit of its dominions? W e stand alone in the fact that our Navy is substantially and essentially a defensive force, and that the navies of most other nations, though they may have a defensive aspect, are essentially attacking and aggressive navies. Well, Sir, can we do less than what we are doing, which is to lay down our ships as other nations lay down theirs? Hon. Gentlemen appear to suppose that we start an enormous programme which is then imitated and rivalled by other nations. I do not think—I speak with deference to my hon. friends who are, of course, more familiar with the details than I am—but I do not think that has ever been done. I think that it has ever been our policy to see what other nations are doing in the way of laying down ships, and immediately to make the necessary reply. I think my right hon. friend has been justified, on financial grounds, in warning us of the dangers incidental to this great expenditure; and though I think he suggested an interesting line of investigation when he compared the cost of shipbuilding here and the cost in other countries, after all, what we have got to consider in discussing the amount of expenditure we have to face upon ships, is that the ships that we require—their number and their character—depend upon the ships which other nations lay down; and so long as this House is careful to see that the Admiralty does not anticipate what other nations do; that we do not, as it were, drive them on by excessive and ill-considered expenditure of our own, but that we simply follow suit and take care that they do not outstrip us in the race for naval superiority—so long, I believe, the country will support this House in the expenditure, large as it is, which we now ask, or any other expenditure which the Admiralty of the day may deem necessary. I know my right hon. friend will do me the justice to say that I am as desirous myself of diminishing the expenditure, as he is, although I think there may be, in his mind, occasions on which he would say that I had been less active in pressing that home than he could have desired. But though there may be that divergence in methods between my right hon. friend and myself in these financial matters, I do not think he will dissent from the broad principles of policy which on behalf of the Government I have ventured to lay down.

* MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

said he wished to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury on his return to an active part in the discussions of the House. The anxiety shown by hon. Members who had engaged in the debate was not to cut down the power of the Navy, but to look into the great increase in the amount of the present Estimates, especially the increase in the Construction Vote, and inquire whether that was justified at the present time. The financial side of the question had been referred to at length by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol. who also made reference to the large increase in the number of men that would be required. Practically every battleship added to the Fleet must mean an increase of some 600 or 700 men who must be more or less permanent additions to our forces. They must be drawn from sources which are already well drained by engineering works and the mercantile marine. The Committee must view with great apprehension the necessity for the increase in the number of men at such an enormous rate. The Secretary to the Admiralty, if he might say so, had not rightly understood the point pressed upon him from the Opposition side of the House, as well as by hon. Members on the other side of the House, with reference to the necessities of the time, so far as battleships went. They had urged that in adding the two Chilian battleships to the British Navy, it should have been possible to have dropped two vessels, not one, out of their programme. The Secretary to the Admiralty would agree with him that the only way in which they could test their strength was by taking vessels of comparatively modern design. On Monday the Secretary to the Admiralty did not restrict the figures he used to vessels of comparatively modern design. But a juster basis of estimate of strength was by taking battleships not over twenty-five years of age, and cruisers not more than twenty years of age. Taking that basis they at once eliminated a large number of out-of-date battleships that were useful merely for coast purposes, and practically nothing else. What they found was that of battleships under twenty-five years of age Great Britain in 1908 would have no less than fifty-four and Russia and France together would have fifty-nine. But even if they took another basis of comparison, namely, the armament of those vessels, this country was certainly much stronger than Russia and France put together—that was, Russia as she stood before the present war broke out. When they turned to cruisers they found that Great Britain not only worked up to the two-Power standard, which was now adopted by the Admiralty, but it worked up to four-Power standard. Taking cruisers of twenty years of age and none over that, they found that Great Britain in 1908 would have no less than seventy-one, and France, the United States, Russia, and Germany together—the four largest navies of the world, excluding our own—would have seventy-three, and even their tonnage was slightly under our own. He could, therefore, well understand that the hon. Gentleman on Monday preferred to use another standard for cruisers, namely, the dimensions of our mercantile marine. Well, if that was to be the basis of comparison in the future, he took it that our cruisers were to be increased in the same proportion as our merchant navy, that was to say, if we went on possessing one half of the merchantmen of the world, as we did at the present time, we must therefore have cruisers which were equivalent to all the other cruisers in the world put together. That was a peculiarly loose way of estimating the naval strength which this country required.

The hon. Gentleman referred at considerable length to the dangers which our food supplies ran in time of war, and, having done that, he made reference to the fact that our merchant navy amounted to something like 15,000,000 tons. That might be perfectly true, but of that 15,000,000 tons he doubted whether there was more than 3,500,000 engaged in carrying food to this country. And in that 3,500,000 he included not only British but also foreign vessels coming into our ports. If that was to be the basis of comparison, he took it for granted that the Admiralty would make their cruiser strength correspond not with our total of merchant navy, but with the proportion of our merchant navy which was engaged at the time being in supplying this country with food. If that was the case he did not see any justification for working up to a four-Power standard. In saying that he was sure the hon. Gentleman would be well aware that he would be one of the last to press on him any restriction of our naval power. But what he and others urged was that the present was not an opportune time for increasing the rate at which we were adding to the Navy. He believed that if they had gone on on their old scale they should have been adding a sufficient number, commensurate with our financial resources to maintain our position.

The hon. Gentleman had referred to the fact that the "Lord Nelson" design was not ready—when it was likely to be he had not stated.


The new ships will be laid down in the autumn.


said he would then ask whether the vessels of the "Lord Nelson" type which the hon. Gentleman had stated were of too great displacement, were of too great tonnage, or too great length, or too great beam, because he would obviously see that this was a very great distinction.


said "all together."


said the hon. Gentleman must be well aware that for the docking of vessels the extreme beam would place them at a great disadvantage in many of our dockyards. Might he suggest that some time must of necessity be taken for improving the "Lord Nelson" design, and the Admiralty might well have used that delay for a further postponement in order that a better design, the result of riper knowledge, might be adopted in our future programme. A further reason, which, he thought, had not been sufficiently pressed for delaying the increase of construction was that we really should recognise the fact that the balance of power had been disturbed by the war in the Far East. He did not wish to tread on any delicate international questions, but the fact was that Russia had been seriously crippled. She had lost one or two—possibly more—most valuable vessels, and that must disturb the balance of naval power. If the process went further he took it that there would be a still further diminution of those ships against which we were maintaining the two-Power standard. Moreover, the war in the Far East was likely to solve many of the problems which had been the subjects of debate in the House, at the United Service Institution and elsewhere. They did not know how far the war might show us the relative value of battleships and cruisers—a point which was not solved at the present time—or the relative value of armoured cruisers and protected cruisers. They did not know how far it might affect their policy in reference to the building of destroyers in preference to torpedo boats nor how the knowledge gained there might lead to changes of arming and design. All these were reasons for not rushing ahead. All he urged was—not the diminution of our naval strength, but that they should proceed at present with great caution, having in view the financial needs of the United Kingdom, and also the possibility of spending our money to much greater advantage twelve months, or even eighteen months, hence.

MR. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, E.)

said he wished to press home further the question of the three battleships of the "King Edward" type the Admiralty were about to construct. It was most important not only as regarded the policy of new construction but also as regarded finance. The First Lord of the Treasury had just stated that the best way of enforcing economy was to carefully watch the policy of new construction. He would follow that advice. The Secretary to the Admiralty stated last session that the new programme included three new battleships, that he was sorry he could not inform the House what their precise design would be, but that he could assure hon. Members they would be of a very formidable type. Yesterday, the hon. Gentleman stated that in the process of working out the design, it was found that thing dimensions would be such that they could not be built in any available dockyard; therefore, their construction had not been only suspended, but abandoned. Now the Admiralty proceeded to take what appeared to be, from an Admiralty point of view and from a financial point of view, a most imprudent course. They proceeded to lay down ships in accordance with the design of the "King Edward" class which they themselves admitted was not up to the best modern ideas and which would in all probability be superseded by a superior type in a few years. On the face of it, surely that was not a wise policy. The "King Edward" was a most expensive type of battleship, and one which in the opinion of the experts would not, in a few years, be the best type available, yet we were going to spend no less than £4,500,000 in laying down and building three battleships of that type. In view of all that had been said, it was surely only common prudence to postpone the construction of those ships until we knew what was the best type to lay down.

MR. O'MARA (Kilkenny, S.)

expressed his surprise that none of the advocates of economy who had addressed the House on this question had had the courage to move a reduction of the Vote. This, perhaps, was not the best Vote on which to move a reduction, because the increase of men in the Navy was automatic on the new construction, nevertheless he proposed, before he sat down, to move a reduction of it. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Secretary to the Admiralty had satisfied him that the two-Power standard had been adhered to. It seemed to him, whether it was regarded from the point of view of finance or of numbers of ships we more nearly approached the three-Power standard, and, while the Prime Minister assured the Committee that these Estimates were moderate and absolutely necessary for the safety of the Empire, hon. Members who bad listened to the debate knew perfectly well that there had been no definite statement demonstrating the necessity for these enormous and extravagant Estimates. He was entirely opposed to this heavy burden being placed upon his country. Ireland had no use for this Navy and he did not think this enormous increase was warranted by what foreign countries were doing. It was only a provocation and a challenge to other countries to follow this extravagant example. He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by the net increase in the number this year of 4,000 men.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That 127,100 men and boys be employed for the said Services. (Mr. O'Mara.)

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)

said he had hoped after the action of the Admiralty in purchasing battleships of a foreign Power that there would have been a corresponding decrease in the Estimates of this year. Instead of that not only were Supplementary Estimates required for the Navy but the Estimates generally were larger than they had been for many years and at a time unfavourable for large expenditure. Practically the amount was double what it was when he first became a Member of that House. The Prime Minister had laid down a doctrine that the fleets of other Powers were aggressive instruments while ours were defensive. In his opinion that doctrine could not be justified by anyone who looked into the facts, and certainly was no justification for an increase of the Naval Estimates of this year. He expressed his disappointment at the amount of money required for this year. There was nothing in our relations with other Powers to justify it. We stood better now than we had stood in any year during the last ten or twelve years, since Lord Spencer commenced to strengthened the Fleet. That policy had been followed by successive Boards of Admiralty until those who had any wish for economy should now cry "Halt." But he particularly wished to refer to an incident, which he mentioned, when the Fleet was in St. Andrews Bay. As that matter reflected on the officers and men of one of the ships he thought it only right that the Secretary of the Admiralty should be given an opportunity to give the facts of this regrettable incident. Noone would be more pleased than he if the incident proved not to be so grave as he represented, because he did not wish to cast unnecessary blame upon those to whom they looked with pride.

MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he could see his way to widen the sphere of nomination for the entrance of cadets into the Navy. Several times in past years he had called attention to the unfairness of the system of nomination, and, in his opinion, that unfairness would be greatly intensified under the new plan. There was a danger that officers would become a narrow caste. They came from a very narrow basis under the old plan, but he feared the basis would be much narrower now when the nominations would be fewer. This was very unfair to other classes of the people, and would dry up the vigour and freshness of the class of naval officer. It had been admitted during the debate that more and more our ships of war were becoming floating factories, and, therefore, what was wanted was mechanical genius and skill. These qualities could be found in Lancashire, but under the system of nomination they would remain unutilised. Young men living in that and other parts of the country should be given a fair Chance, but to prevent them from entering the Navy would be unfair and unwise. If the prosperity of this country depended upon the Navy it should be our object to draw to it all the talent possible. What were battleships worth if they were not properly handled? As patriots it was their duty to protest against any narrowing of the area from which naval officers were drawn and not deprive the Navy of a service so much required.


, in reply, said the criticism of the hon. Member was founded upon an insufficient knowledge of the facts. So far from being narrowed, the area of original nomination was very greatly widened. Under the old scheme nomination given by the First Lord entitled the recipient to sit for the competitive examination, and it was therefore necessary that the First Lord should exercise some care as to whom he nominated. But now an application for a nomination was granted on a very much wider basis, because the recipient would come before a committee of inspection, who were not all naval men, and it was on their report that the First Lord would make the decision. That was really one of the great advantages of the new system. Every boy would have an equal chance. In answer to the hon. Member for Ilkeston the previous week with regard to the "Sutlej's" launch, he had made inquiries into the facts, which generally were as had been stated by the hon. Member, but there was considerable difference in detail. The launch of the "Sutlej" ran ashore in St. Andrews Bay at two o'clock in the morning, on a very bad reef of rocks, and her bottom was nearly torn out. She had ten or twelve holes in her, and one gentleman had written to him saying he had put his head and shoulders through one of them. She was sold at public auction for £104, and the people who bought her were lucky enough to get her off, after spending a considerable sum upon her, for £350. [Sir WALTER FOSTER: What was her original price?] Her original price was £2,500. He did not think, therefore, that the facts were of the serious nature that had been suggested.


said he rose solely to follow his usual practice and protest against the expenditure on these Naval Estimates. He pointed out that the House had to discuss these Estimates in the absence of the Gentleman who should be personally responsible for them to this Committee, and he was perfectly certain no business house could be conducted successfully for twelve months if, at the annual general meeting, the finances were discussed in the absence of the person responsible for the conduct of the business. While Great Britain and Ireland were called upon to vote enormous sums in order to protect the trade, not of Great Britain and Ireland alone, but of the Empire as a whole, the rest of the Empire contributed practically nothing. It had been stated that the Navy was for the protection of the trade not of the United Kingdom but of the Empire. From the British point of view that was perfectly true. The British Empire was world-wide; its naval stations were dotted all over the globe; and its ships were in all the waters of the world for the protection of the trade of the Empire. From the British point of view it was perfectly right and proper to have a Navy for that purpose, but if that was the reason for its existence, was it common justice that the unfortunate taxpayers of Ireland, a country with no sea-going trade worth speaking of. should be called upon to pay to the fullest extent while the other portions of the Empire paid practically nothing? Such an arrangement was altogether one-sided and unjust. No one wished better to the self-governing Dependencies of the Empire than he did, but it was necessary to consider one's interests at home, and when the people of Ireland were asked to bear their share of these increased Estimates, they were entitled to demand the reason why the self-governing Colonies secured all the protection they required without paying anything in return.

Towards the £42,000,000 required this year, the Australian Commonwealth had agreed to contribute £200,000. He would make the Government an offer. On one condition he would agree to let these Estimates go through without a word spoken or question asked, without an adverse vote or any hindrance whatever, and the condition was that the people of Ireland should be put in the same position as the people of the Australian Commonwealth in this matter. Would the Government take £200,000 from Ireland as a set-off for any advantages she might derive from the Navy? The population of Ireland was little greater than that of Australia, but the Commonwealth was infinitely better able than Ireland to bear a proper share of the burden. But what did Australia get in return for her £200,000? It was not sufficient that Great Britain should undertake to defend her coasts if attacked, there was to be permanently stationed in Australian waters a whole fleet. It might be said that the Australian people would not pay more, and that the present contribution was secured only with great difficulty. That, no doubt, was perfectly true, but the fact remained that the sum was altogether insufficient, and it would be much better if the Government told the Australian people to build a Navy for themselves and to look after their own interests as best they could. He could understand such a position being taken up, but he could not understand such an arrangement as now existed being entered into. The idea of Ireland being in danger of attack from any foreign Power was farcical and absurd. He did not blame the Australians. They were perfectly right in trying to get as much for as little as possible, but from the Irish point of view the arrangement was monstrously unjust. Then Cape Colony contributed £50,000, Natal £35,000, while Newfoundland said, "We will give £3,000 a year, and you must let us have the use of the whole Navy if necessary."[An HON. MEMBER: What about Canada?] Canada looked towards the United States, and everybody knew that if there was any trouble that colony would at once become incorporated. At least, that was his view of it. These figures were very picturesque. They reminded him very much of the cheap flags which were hung out on festive occasions to show unity, brotherhood, and good feeling. Here was a national festival for the British Empire. The English, Scotch, Irish, and Welsh had hung out flags up to £41,500,000, and the Australians had hung out a flag for £200,000. It would be infinitely more dignified, and more in keeping with the spirit of independence which Englishmen were supposed to cherish, if the British people said that they would bear the expense themselves if the Colonies were not prepared to make a more reasonable, fair, and proportionate contribution. The figures were simply a mockery of the idea of Imperialism. They only went to prove that there was no real unity in the matter. The people of this country were talked to, and lectured to, over and over again, about imperialism, Imperial unity, and thinking Imperially, but it all came down to this—they had to pay in Ireland for all this highfaluting while the people in distant parts of the Empire got the advantages. He had no ill-feeling towards the great self-governing Colonies, but was it unreasonable, in the face of these facts and figures, that Irishmen should come there and protest that they were being unfairly treated in regard to the expense of the Navy?

The naval expenditure, according to an answer to a Question put by the hon. Member for Exeter, for 1900–1 was £32,131,062; for 1901–2, £33,726,491; for 1902–3, £34,201,994, and the estimated expenditure for 1303–4 was £39,221,000, and for 1904–5, £42,001,400. He was surprised that there was so little protest in the House against the extraordinary increase in the naval expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol and some others had spoken of it in misgiving tones, but nothing like a real protest had been made. The way to check it was for everyone who believed it to be wasteful and extravagant to register his vote against the proposals of the Government. He conceived it to be the duty of the Irish representatives to enter their protest in every conceivable way. He asked the Secretary to the Treasury to say what return Ireland got for this expenditure. If it were all spent in Ireland he would still object to it because he thought it was a bad way of spending money. There were dockyards and naval works in England and the greater portion of the £42,000,000 would be circulated in this country, but he ventured to say that not a brass farthing of the money would ever find its way into the constituency he represented. If the Irish people were obliged to pay a large portion of the up keep of this enormous military and naval power their representatives were at least entitled to exercise their right of protest against it as strongly as they possibly could. He believed the two-Power standard was an untrue standard. The more the British Government spent the more people on the Continent would spend. He believed that a policy founded on justice and integrity would do a great deal more to secure this country against attack than the policy of the braggart with the big purse and the great sword who was always threatening his neighbours. He asked the Secretary to the Treasury to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, before next year, it would be possible, in the interest of Imperialism, to place Ireland, in regard to this matter, upon the same footing as the Common wealth of Australia. The population of Ireland was going down and their wealth was not increasing, but the claims upon their purse for the Navy and Army were always increasing. It would be reasonable to make a bargain with Ireland over this matter. Let the Government take so much, if they must take something, but do not increase the amount every year. If the First Lord of the Admiralty agreed to accept £200,000 from Ireland it might convert the Irish people to a true sense of Imperialism, and that would be a great matter. It would have the effect of facilitating the progress of the Naval Votesthrough this House and relieve the Secretary to the Treasury from what he considered to be the agony of the protests from the Irish Benches on this matter. It would secure the complete absence of the Irish Members from the debates on occasions like the present. If something could not be done and if he did not hear from the hon. Gentleman, he could only say that all through these Estimates, on every single Vote, be would take an opportunity of opposing what he seriously considered a grave scandal and injustice to the Irish people. He gave notice to the Secretary to the Treasury that when the Committee came to Vote 12, which contained the salaries of the First Lord and other officials at the Admiralty, he should review and renew all the protests he had made on this matter.

MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)

said the Committee was entitled to some reply to the speech of the hon. Member for Clare.


said he did not think a reply was necessary, because the matter had been fully dealt with in the general discussion. The hon. Member for Clare made a great mistake in saying that he listened to his remarks with agony. He thought the hon. Gentleman would see that the principle he advocated, that any Member should obtain remission of taxation for his constituents by asking for it, would prolong debates, and land the country in serious financial difficulties. The House and the country were generally prepared to grant this money, and he hoped a division would now be taken.


said that the tone in which the Irish Members had been replied to was really too much. He did not threaten the officials on the Government Bench but he would take his share in examining and criticising these Votes at any length required. He would not let a single farthing be voted unless Ireland was put in the privileged position of the self-governing Colonies, which enjoyed the protection of the Navy but did not pay for it. Canada did not pay a single red cent for the North American Squadron. The Cape of Good Hope only contributed £50,000 to the Navy while £5,000,000 had been spent on Simons Town Harbour, and a special squadron was retained at the Cape for the safety of the South African Colonies. Then the Australian Colonies only contributed £200,000 out of the £42,000,000 spent on the Fleet. Ireland was a poor country, with no sea-borne trade, compared with all these self-governing Colonies, where the population was prosperous, an increasing amount of land was being brought into cultivation, and railways were being extended. In Ireland land was going out of cultivation, the population was going down, the people were becoming poorer, and yet they had to pay £3,000,000 a year towards the Navy from which they did not derive a single benefit. He did not believe that 75 per cent. of the people of the county he represented had ever seen a ship of war, and would not care a bit if all the Navy was sunk to the bottom of the sea to-morrow. Ireland did not even get a gunboat for the protection of her fisheries, while Australia had one first class cruiser, two second class cruisers, three third class cruisers, and four sloops for the protection of her trade. He should continue to press the claims of Ireland to special exemption in regard to this Vote.


said that the right hon. Gentleman had stated that the Navy was equal to the two-Power standard; but if

that were so then the Estimates should be only £30,000,000 instead of £42,000,000. He asked the attention of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty to the question of protecting Irish fisheries. Why had the request of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries for the use of a gunboat to protect the Irish fisheries not been granted?


said that there were two gunboats and the coastguard cruisers available for that purpose.


said he was not prepared to accept the explanation. [MINISTERIAL laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen might laugh, but he asked how many of them had gone out on an Irish smack off the Irish coast and fished for mackerel or herring? A very large majority of the boats which came to the Irish coast for fish were foreign.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 224; Noes, 131. (Division List, No. 32.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Bousfield, William Robert Cust, Henry John C.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Brassey, Albert Dalkeith, Earl of
Aird, Sir John Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Bull, William James Davenport, William Bromley
Allsopp, Hon. George Butcher, John George Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow Denny, Colonel
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower Hamlets
Arrol, Sir William Cautley, Henry Strother Dickinson, Robert Edmond
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Dickson, Charles Scott
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H Cayzer, Sir Charles William Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C
Bailey, James (Walworth) Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon
Bain, Colonel James Robert Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers
Baird, John George Alexander Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Doxford, Sir William Theodore
Balcarres, Lord Chapman, Edward Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin
Baldwin, Alfred Charrington, Spencer Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Churchill, Winston Spencer Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Clive, Captain Percy A. Faber, George Denison (York)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J(Manc'r
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Cohen, Benjamin Louis Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Bhownaggree Sir M. M. Compton, Lord Alwyne Fison, Frederick William
Bignold, Arthur Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon
Bigwood, James Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Flannery, Sir Fortescue
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Flower, Sir Ernest
Bond, Edward Cripps, Charles Alfred Forster, Henry William
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.)
Boulnois, Edmund Cubitt, Hon. Henry Fyler, John Arthur
Galloway, William Johnson Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Russell, T. W.
Gardner, Ernest Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Garfit, William Lowe, Francis William Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)
Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc) Macdona, John dimming Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles
Goschen, Hn. George Joachim MacIver, David (Liverpool) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Maconochie, A. W. Seely, Maj. J. E. B. Isle of Wight
Graham, Henry Robert M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury M'Calmont, Colonel James Sharpe, William Edward T.
Greville, Hon. Ronald M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Majende, James A. H. Sloan, Thomas Henry
Hambro, Charles Eric Malcolm, Ian Spear, John Ward
Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry Martin, Richard Biddulph Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.
Hare, Thomas Leigh Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich Milvain, Thomas Stock, James Henry
Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Montagu, G. Huntingdon) Stone, Sir Benjamin
Hay, Hon. Claude George Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Heath, A. Howard (Hanley) Moore, William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Heath, James (Staffords., N.W. Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.
Heaton, John Henniker Morpeth, Viscount Thornton, Percy M.
Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W. Morrell, George Herbert Tollemache, Henry James
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Morrison, James Archibald Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Hoare, Sir Samuel Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Tritton, Charles Ernest
Hogg, Lindsay Mount, William Arthur Tuff, Charles
Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Valentia, Viscount
Houston, Robert Paterson Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute) Walker, Col. William Hall
Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham) Myers, William Henry Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Newdegate, Francis A. N. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Hudson, George Bickersteth Nicholson, William Graham Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)
Hunt, Rowland Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Hutton, John (Yorks., N.R.) Percy, Earl Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne
Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Platt-Higgins, Frederick Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Plummer, Walter R. Willox, Sir John Archibald
Kemp, Lieut.-Col. George Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E R.(Bath
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop) Pretyman, Ernest George Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Keswick, William Purvis, Robert Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Knowles, Sir Lees Randles, John S. Wylie, Alexander
Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Rankin, Sir James Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Laurie, Lieut.-General Ratcliff, R. F. Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Law, Andrew Bonar(Glasgow) Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks, N. R) L Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Lee, A H. (Hants., Fareham) Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Royds, Clement Molyneux
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Causton, Richard Knight Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Condon Thomas Joseph Fuller, J. M. F.
Allen, Charles P. Crean, Eugene Gilhooly, James
Ambrose, Robert Cullinan, J. Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John
Ashton, Thomas Gair Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Goddard, Daniel Ford
Austin, Sir John Delany, William Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Harwood, George
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Hayden, John Patrick
Bell, Richard Dilke, Rt, Hon. Sir Charles Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D
Blake, Edward Dobbie, Joseph Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.
Boland, John Doogan, P. C. Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Brigg, John Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Holland, Sir William Henry
Broadhurst, Henry Dunn, Sir William Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Ellice, Capt E. C (S Andrw's Bghs Horniman, Frederick John
Burke, E. Haviland Farrell, James Patrick Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.
Burns, John Fenwick, Charles Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Burt, Thomas Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Caldwell, James Ffrench, Peter Joyce, Michael
Cameron, Robert Flavin, Michael Joseph' Kilbride, Denis
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Flynn, James Christopher Kitson, Sir James
Labouchere, Henry O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Shackleton, David James
Lambert, George O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Shechan, Daniel Daniel
Layland-Barratt, Francis O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Sheehy, David
Leng, Sir John O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Levy, Maurice O'Dowd, John Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Lloyd-George, David O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.) Soares, Ernest J.
Lundon, W. O'Malley, William Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants
MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. O'Mara, James Sullivan, Donal
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radlciffe)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham) Tennant, Marold John
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Pirie, Duncan V. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Power, Patrick Joseph Thomas, D, Alfred (Merthyr)
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Price, Robert John Tomkinson, James
M'Kean, John Priestley, Arthur Wallace, Robert
M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Reddy, M. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Redmond, John E. (Waterford) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Mansfield, Horace Rendall Redmond, William (Clare) Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Mooney, John J. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Murnaghan, George Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Murphy, John Roche, John Young, Samuel
Nannetti, Joseph P. Rose, Charles Day Yoxall, James Henry
Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Runciman, Walter
Nussey, Thomas Willans Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.) Schwann, Charles E.

Question put accordingly, "That 127,100 men and boys be employed for the said Services."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 87; Noes, 247. (Division List No. 33.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Harwood, George O'Dowd, John
Ainsworth, John Stirling Hayden, John Patrick O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.
Ambrose Robert Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. O'Malley, William
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Mara, James
Blake, Edward Henderson, Arthur (Durham) O'Shaughnessy, P. J
Boland, John Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Pirie, Duncan V.
Brigg, John Johnson, John Gateshead) Power, Patrick Joseph
Broadhurst, Henry Joyce, Michael Price, Robert John
Burke, E. Haviland Kilbride, Denis Priestley, Arthur
Burns, John Labouchere, Henry Reddy, M.
Burt, Thomas Leng, Sir John Redmond. John E. (Waterford)
Cameron, Robert Levy, Maurice Redmond, William (Clare)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Lundon, W Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Roche, John
Condon, Thomas Joseph MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Shackleton, David James
Crean, Eugene MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Cullinan, J. M'Hugh, Patrick A. Sheehy, David
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) M'Kean, John Shipman, Dr. John G.
Delany, William M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Mansfield, Horace Rendall Sullivan, Donal
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Mooney, John J. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Dobbie, Joseph Murnaghan, George Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)
Doogan, P. C. Murphy, John Tomkinson, James
Dunn, Sir William Nannetti, Joseph P. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Farrell, James Patrick Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Young, Samuel
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Ffrench, Peter O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Flynn, James Christopher O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Gilhooly, James O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Allsopp, Hon. George Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Anson, Sir William Reynell Austin, Sir John
Aird, Sir John Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O Bailey, James (Walworth)
Allen, Charles P. Arrol, Sir William Bain, Colonel James Robert
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Atkinson, Rt. Hon John Baird, John George Alexander
Balcarres, Lord Flower, Sir Ernest Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.
Baldwin, Alfred Forster, Henry William Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.) Milvain, Thomas
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Fyler, John Arthur Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds Galloway, William Johnson Moore, William
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Gardner, Ernest Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Garfit, William Morpeth, Viscount
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Morrell, George Herbert
Bignold, Arthur Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John Morrison, James Archibald
Bigwood, James Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn) Mount, William Arthur
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Boulnois, Edmund Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)
Bousfield, William Robert Goulding, Edward Alfred Myers, William Henry
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Graham, Henry Robert Newdegate, Francis A. N.
Brassey, Albert Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury Nicholson, William Graham
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Greville, Hon. Ronald Nussey, Thomas Willans
Brown, George M.(Edinburgh) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)
Bull, William James Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley
Butcher, John George Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry Percy, Earl
Caldwell, James Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow Hare, Thomas Leigh Plummer, Walter R.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cautley, Henry Strother Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Pretyman, Ernest George
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Hay, Hon. Claude George Purvis, Robert
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Heath, A. Howard (Hanley) Randles, John S.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Heath, James (Staffords., N. W. Rankin, Sir James
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc Heaton, John Henniker Ratcliff, R. F.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W. Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)
Chapman, Edward Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Charrington, Spencer Hoare, Sir Samuel Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Churchill, Winston Spencer Hogg, Lindsay Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Clive, Captain Percy A. Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Houston, Robert Paterson Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham) Rose, Charles Day
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Royds, Clement Molyneux
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Hudson, George Bickersteth Runciman, Walter
Compton, Lord Alwyne Hunt, Rowland Russell, T. W.
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Cripps, Charles Alfred Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop. Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Keswick, William Samuel Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Oust, Henry John C. Knowles, Sir Lees Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lambert, George Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Davenport, William Bromley Laurie, Lieut.-General Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight)
Davies, Sir H, D. (Chatham) Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Seton-Karr Sir Henry
Denny, Colonel Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower Hamlets Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N. R. Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Dickinson. Robert Edmond Layland-Barratt, Francis Sloan, Thomas Henry
Dickson, Charles Scott Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham) Soares, Ernest J.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead Spear, John Ward
Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.) Stock, James Henry
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Lowe, Francis William Stone, Sir Benjamin
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Strachey, Sir Edward
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Elibank, Master of Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Ellice, Capt. E. C (SAndrw's Bghs Macdona, John Gumming Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas MacIver, David (Liverpool) Thornton, Percy M.
Faber, George Denison (York) Maconochie, A. W. Tollemache, Henry James
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J(Manc'r M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst M'Calmont, Colonel James Tuff, Charles
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Valentia, Viscount
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Walker, Col. William Hall
Fison, Frederick William Majendie, James A. H. Wallace, Robert
Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon Malcolm, Ian Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Martin, Richard Biddulph Walton, Joseph (
Warde, Colonel C. E. Willox, Sir John Archibald Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
White, Luke (York, E. R.) Wrightson, Sir Thomas TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland - Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne Wylie, Alexander
Whitmore, Charles Algernon Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George

Original Question put, and agreed to.

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

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

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