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conduce to the credit or authority of the House. This practice of drawing bills upon the future was an innovation. The House should wait till the time came when they knew the financial condition of the country, the expenditure, and the means of meeting it. The motion avoided all the other remissions with which they might be called upon to deal—the duties on tea, sugar, paper, and the income-tax. He asked the House not to prejudge this great question. Mr. Dodson's motion was rejected by 202 to 110. The next proposal of this nature was made by Mr. H. B. Sheridan, who, on the 8th of March, asked for leave to bring in a Bill to reduce the duty on fire insurance. He wished to lower the rate from 8s. to 1s. He contended that the high rate operated as a restriction upon insurance, and that a relief from the burden would produce a larger return of revenue. He urged a variety of other reasons, moral as well as economical, in favour of his motion. Mr. Norris opposed the motion as one brought forward in the interest of the insurance offices, and not calculated, so much as other remissions which might be made, to benefit the public. Mr. Malins and Mr. Alderman Sidney supported the views of Mr. Sheridan. The Chancellor of the Exchequer considered that, as far as argument went, this was an exhausted subject. The effect of the proposition was to vote a condemnation of 900,000l. of the revenue of the current year, and although Mr. Sheridan calculated that this amount would be re
placed in two or three years, Mr. Gladstone showed errors in the elements of his calculation, and what he considered to be fallacies in the analogies and arguments urged in support of the motion. He was prepared to admit that in certain conditions of the revenue it might be judicious to reduce the duty on fire insurance; but this proposal was made in total ignorance of the necessities of the country, when it was not known whether there was any revenue to give away, and whether this was the wisest mode of financial remission if there was a surplus of revenue. The meaning of the motion was, that neither the income-tax, nor the paper duty, nor the tea duty, nor the sugar duty, was to be put in competition with the duty on fire insurance, this special selection being urged by a combination of wealthy bodies. The motion was negatived on a division by 138 to 49. The only remaining proceeding of a financial nature worthy of notice was a motion made by Mr. Arthur Mills, on the subject of Colonial Expenditure. He proposed that a Committee should be appointed to inquire whether any, and what, alterations might be advantageously adopted in regard to the defence of the British dependencies, and the proportions of cost of such defence as now defrayed from Imperial and colonial funds respectively. He observed that the question was of considerable importance, since it involved the expenditure of 4,000,000l. a-year, nine-tenths of which sum fell upon the taxation of this country; and he showed that the principle, if there was any principle, observed in the proportions contributed by the parent country and by the different colonies, was not uniform. As he understood that his motion would be opposed by the Government, he anticipated and replied to the objections he expected they would offer to the inquiry, which he proposed, he said, in no hostile spirit. The motion was seconded by Mr. Marsh. Mr. C. Fortescue, Under-Secretary for the Colonies, assured Mr. Mills and the House that he did not regard the motion as a party attack. He observed that Mr. Mills had greatly exaggerated the amount of the colonial military expenditure, the causes and conditions of which differed in different colonies, and that the doctrine that the colonies should defray the cost of their own defence might be carried too far. The case was not so bad as Mr. Mills had represented ; but, at all events, the question, in the opinion of the Government, was not a fit one for inquiry by a Committee of that House. Mr. Baxter and Lord Robert Cecil supported the motion. Mr. Adderley also urged the Govern
ment not to resist an inquiry that might have the effect of reducing a lavish expenditure which taught the colonies to lean too much upon the mother country, instead of trusting to their own resources. Lord Palmerston said it seemed to him that the objects sought by the motion might be classed under two heads—first, to determine the number of troops that should be maintained at each colony and dependency ; and, second, to decide by whom they should be paid. The former question could not be properly determined by a Committee of that House, but by the Executive Government; and, with regard to the latter, it was not in the competence of the House itself, or even of the Imperial Government, to say what contribution each colony should make, as some of them had local legislatures, and the question must be a matter of negotiation. He could not, therefore, anticipate any practical result from the appointment of this Committee; nevertheless, if it appeared to the House that an inquiry was desirable, he should not oppose the motion. The motion was then agreed to.
ARMY AND Navy.--Improvements in Military Administration and in
the Construction of Ships of War-Numerous Discussions in Par. liament on these topics.-NAVY ESTIMATES-Moved by Lord Clarence Paget on the 11th of March—The Noble Lord enters into a full statement as to the progress of the French Marine, and the neces. sity for constructing Iron-cased Vessels for Defensive Purposes — Account of the French Ship La Gloire and the English WarriorRemarks of Mr. Baxter, Mr. Lindsay, and Sir John PakingtonMr. Bright condemns the excessive Amount of the Estimates-He is answered by Lord Palmerston-- Motion for Inquiry into the Constitution of the Board of Admiralty proposed by Admiral DuncombeLord C. Paget, on behalf of the Government, consents to the Motion, which, after some debate, is agreed to-Sir James Elphinstone moves for an Inquiry into the System of Promotion and Payinent of Officers in the Royal Navy --The Ministers object to the Motion, as tending to the disadvantage of the Service- Remarks of Lord Palmerston — The Motion is carried by 102 to 97—Debate on the relative Merits of Iron and Wooden Ships-Mr. Lindsay, seconded by Sir M. Peto, moves Resolutions—Lord C. Paget opposes them-Speeches of Mr. Bentinck, Sir J. Pakington, the Earl of Gifford, Mr. Corry, and other Members—The Resolutions are withdrawn-Further Debates on Iron-cased Vessels ---Sir John Pakington gives a startling Account of the Progress made by France in this direction, as contrasted with our own-Mr. Lindsay, Lord C. Paget, and Lord Palmerston controvert the facts stated--The same subject is mooted by the Earl of Carnarvon in the House of Lords—The Duke of Somerset makes an interesting Speech in explanation, entering fully into details—Earl Grey expresses much satisfaction at this statement—The Naval Estimates are passed in the House of Commons after some opposition—Mr. Lindsay inquires of the Government whether some limitation of the Marine, both of France and England, cannot be settled by agreement between the two Powers-- Lord Palmerston states, with much force, the difficulties and objections to such proceeding.—THE ARMY ESTIMATES—They are moved by Mr. T. G. Baring on the 14th of March-His Speech — He describes the Progress made in the Construction of Armstrong Guns, and the Improvements in the Organization and Management of the Army-Criticisms by various Members on this statement—The large amount of the Estimates is complained of, and justified on the ground of necessity by Lord Palmerston - Mr. B.
Osborne denounces the Camp Establishment at Aldershott in strong terms — Colonel Dickson proposes a Revision of the Estimates with a view to greater Economy—Remarks of General Peel, Mr. Monsell, Mr. Baring, and Lord Palmerston –Several Amendments are moved, but without success—The Vote for the Volunteer Force gives rise to an interesting Debate—Viscount Elcho calls the attention of the House to the Requirements of that Force, and urges increased Contribution from Government – Answer of Mr. T. G. Baring, who pays a high tribute of Praise to the Rifle Corps, but deprecates Money Allowance to Volunteers — Remarks of Mr. H.
Berkley on the Yeomanry Cavalry–The Votes are agreed to.
GOOD deal of interesting disA cussion took place this Session upon various matters relating to the military and naval services. The many improvements introduced in the administration of the army, especially in the treatment and condition of the soldiers, the novel construction of artillery and other weapons of war, as well as the experiments lately made in the structure of iron-cased vessels, and other matters of naval management and discipline, furnished occasion for several motions on the part of private members as well as explanations and statements by the official heads of public departments.
On the 11th of March, Lord Clarence Paget, the Secretary to the Admiralty, in moving the Navy Estimates, which were of very large amount, made a clear and able statement as to the resources and needs of the British naval service, and gave an interesting account of the fleets and armaments of other Powers in comparison with our own. The estimates for the year 1861–2, said the noble lord, 4mount to 12,029,475l., an apparent decrease for the current year of 806,625l., or, deducting the extraordinary vote on account last year for China, a real decrease of 601,625l. The decrease would
have been greater had it not been deemed advisable to purchase a considerable store of timber. The number of men and boys to be maintained was 78,200. Last year the number voted was 85,000, but only 81,000 were maintained; therefore, the decrease was not 7000 but 3000: and as 3000 were coming home from China, the force of the navy would not be reduced by a single man. Then we had a large accession to our force in another way. The Royal Naval Reserve was making great progress; 4000 prime, able seamen had already been enrolled, they were entering at the rate of 100 a week, and there would be some 7000 by the end of the year. Besides these, there were 7000 Royal Naval Coast Volunteers, 4000 Coastguards, and 8000 Marines on shore; there were 1500 supernumeraries, and in the training ships 2000 boys. A large number of pensioners were also fit for service, if wanted again. The system of training boys for the navy was working well, and promised to supply the navy with 2900 boys per annum. The casualties among our force afloat, (38,000,) were 5000 a year including deserters, and he hoped to make that good by taking 2900 boys from the training ships, and 2100 from the merchant service. Before proceeding to state the number of the ships, Lord Clarence Paget delivered a statement as to the naval strength of other Powers. “First of all, with respect to the French navy, as far as we can gather from the official reports—for we have no information that is not open to the French public—we believe that France has 35 line-of-battle ships afloat and two building, making a total of 37. We believe that the French have 18 paddle and 21 screw frigates, making a total of 39 frigates afloat and 8 frigates building. All these are wooden ships. I will deal with the iron-cased ships afterwards. The vessels I have spoken of are all steamships. There is a great variety of small vessels, corvettes, gunboats, and other classes, making the entire French navy consist of 266 vessels afloat, and 61 building. Then we have to consider another great naval Power, Russia. Russia has 9 screw liners afloat and none building. She has also 7 screw and 10 paddle frigates, making 17 frigates afloat, and 6 building. Next, we have for the first time an account this year of the Spanish navy, which is taking its place among the navies of Europe. Spain has of steam liners afloat 2, and building 1. She has 12 frigates afloat and 2 building. They are all steamers, but whether they are paddles or screws I cannot say. We have another navy, that of Italy, now entering the arena. I hope that people will speedily rank among the first maritime nations of the world. Italy has one screw liner afloat; she has 6 screw and 12 paddle frigates, with a considerable number of
smaller vessels. This is irrespective of the vessels which lately belonged to the Neapolitan Government. Here is a very powerful force of sea vessels. I must now advert to a novel weapon of war, which, to my mind, is of still more importance in considering the force of nations at sea.” “With regard to the French navy, we know that they have no less than two very large and powerful iron-cased ships. We know that they have also four powerful vessels which they call iron-cased frigates; and that they have, likewise, four of a very for. midable class, called floating batteries. In addition to these, they have five gunboats, with which we are partially acquainted by rumour, and which are of a very formidable character. We find, then, that the Spaniards are building an iron-cased vessel which is not yet afloat; and of the French ships I may say that three are afloat; La Gloire and La Normandie are actually on the water. Of the French floating batteries I am not prepared to say how many are afloat; but I have every reason to believe that every one of these vessels could, if required, be afloat in a very short period of time. We understand that the Russians are about to build an iron-cased frigate, and the Italians have already one of those iron-cased frigates, which is either afloat or about to be launched. At the present moment we have seven iron-cased ships under construction. It would, perhaps, be interesting to the Committee if I gave them some information as to what we know already of these iron-cased ships. The Committee may re