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for asking a large Vote for fortifications that France had 244 steam vessels that the increasing armaments maintained by could be mannned and sent to sea in a neighbouring Powers and especially by few weeks, some in a few days, and asked France. Ho referred to her great army, where we should be if hostilites broke and more especially dwelt upon the fact out. The Government were not satisfied that she had a navy which could not be with the enormous wooden feet which required for purposes of defence; and that we then had, and during the year 1859-60 while she had increased her naval force they built 85,000 tons of wooden ships, our fleet had, owing to the change from consisting of line-of-battle ships, frigates, sailing ships to steam ships, been dimi- and so forth. Yet at that time they must nished in number. On the faith of that have known that France had long ceased statement the House readily granted a to build wooden ships, and that one irouVote of £2,000,000. Similar statements plated ship could destroy all our wooden had been constantly made ; but it was In 1861 the House voted for the only within the last month that there had navy) £12,029,000 besides £250,000, been laid upon the table, by command of an instalment of £2,500,000, which was Her Majesty, authentic reports respect voted later in the Session. The number ing the naval and the military forces of of men was 78,200. The noble Lord, France. Those reports appeared to him in moving those Estimates, observed that to differ in material particulars from the it was impossible that our force, either statements which had been made during in men or ships, could be fixed without the last two years, both by the noble Lord relation to the forces of other Powers, at the head of the Government and by and stated that France had then two very the noble Lord the Secretary for the Ad- large and powerful iron-cased ships, which miralty, and he therefore thought that they ranked as line-of-battle ships, mountit would be well for the House to postpone ing fifty-two rifled guns each ; four powerthe consideration of these fortifications ful vessels which they called iron-cased fri. until they had further information upon gates, mounting from forty to thirty-six this subject. He was about to move that guns ; four of a very formidable class, the consideration of further expenditure called floating-batteries, mounting fourteen upon the fortifications authorized by this guns each ; and, in addition to all these, Bill should be postponed until there had five gunboats of a very formidable chabeen laid before the IIouse the reports of racter. He thus made it appear that in our naval attaché at Paris showing the March, 1861, France had built or was state of the French navy at various periods building fifteen iron-cased ships, while se during the years 1860 and 1861. The had only seven under construction ; and House would not have sanctioned so large on the faith of that statement of things an expenditure-it was questionable whe- the House readily granted the large sum ther it would have sanctioned any expen- of money which he had mentioned. There diture for fortifications, but for the impres-was a very long discussion upon those sion which was created by the statements Estimates, and in the course of it the of Her Majesty's Government that we noble Lord stated that the Magenta and were fast becoming, in comparison with Solferino would be ready for launching France, only the second naval Power, and in a very short period and might be sent should not be able to maintain the com- to sea in a few months, and that of the mand of the sea. What, however, were four frigates one was then at sea and the the facts ? That we possesed more effi. others were ready. He was in Paris ; and cient steam vessels mounting twenty guns having confidence in the statements of and upwards than all the rest of the the noble Lord and the noble Viscount world, France included, and that we had as to the immense preparations of France, twenty more line-of-battle ships (the noble he took occasion to speak to the Minister Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty him. of Marine, and the Minister of Marine said self admitted seventeen) than all the other that the iron-cased ships were not in the nations of the world together. In 1860 advanced state which was represented. the House voted £12,800,000 for the The Minister of Marine, moreover, placed navy, and the number of men voted was in his hands the means of contradicting 85,500, or 6,000 more than were voted these statements. He (Mr. Lindsay) alse while we were at war with Russia. The mentioned the subject to M. Chevalier, noble Lord the Secretary to the Ad- who wrote him a note which he read to miralty, in asking for those Votes, stated the House at the time. He, however,
thought it necessary to trouble the House had himself previously made on the authowith an extract from that note
rity of the French Minister of Marine, " You have a full statement of our navy in a
and M. Chevalier was literally correct. blue-book placed in a solemn manner before your The Government, finding the House House. You have it from the lips of the Minis- alarmed at the representations of what ter of our navy. You were told by our Minister, was doing in the French yards, asked for privately as well as publicly, that of iron-cased a supplemental Vote of £250,000, as an vessels France has only one at this moment fit for sea, namely, La Gloire. That in a short time instalment of £2,500,000, to build six there will be a second one of a similar character iron-cased ships of 6,300 tous each, and ready for sea. I tell you, too, it will be necessary attaining a speed of 14 knots an hour ; to have two more built ; but two years must and in the month of July that sum of elapse before we are in a position to complete six £250,000 was voted, in addition to the iron-cased vessels ready for sea.”
original Estimates of £10,000,000 or Now, observe those two years dated from £12,000,000. Many Members opposed the 19th February, 1861. The noble the proposal of the Government, and he Viscount, however, who doubted the asser- was one of them. He warned the Governtion, said it was no use shutting their eyes ment against the danger within, should to notorious facts, and to go on pretending the American war continue, and the peothat the policy of France for a length of ple be thrown out of employment, and he time had not been to get a navy equal, if not advised them to consider that, rather than superior to our own. The Estimates were an imaginary danger from without. The voted in March or April, and on the 31st noble Viscount, however, notwithstanding of May the right hon. Member for Droit- these facts, still adhered to his opinion wich (Sir John Pakington) came down to and reiterated his statement as to the supthe House, and stated, on the authority posed increase of the French navy. of Admiral Elliot, who had visited all addition to a fleet of six iron vessels,” said the dockyards of France except Toulon, the noble Lord, "France has laid down ten that La Gloire was completed, that the other vessels, making together sixteen forMagenta and
Solferino were to be midable ships of war, in addition to eleven launched in June ; and the hon. Baronet floating batteries." The Secretary to the summed up the matter in these words—
Admiralty, moreover, stated that other “ The practical point we arrive at is, that the nations were adding to their iron-cased French are rapidly preparing 15 powerful armour-ships, and we must keep pace with them ; plated ships, to be added to 9 of a different de and the noble Viscount said that the great scription also covered with armour, giving them preparations of France rendered indispenin the whole a force of 24 armour-covered ships, sable corresponding preparations on the exclusive of the old batteries which were used during the Russian war. . . . Admiral Elliot as- part of England. The sole reason for the
... that in every one of the yards expenditure which was given to the House which he visited the utmost efforts are being made was the rapid increase of the French navy, to press all those ships forward to completion. I and at the same time discussion was de. have no wish to excite alarm by making this statement. The point to which I invite atten- precated, because it would give offence to tion is, that whatever may be the motive of France, and the people of England were France, the practical result is that we are rapidly convinced that the French Emperor had becoming the second maritime Power of Europe." acted most honourably and fairly towards [3 Hansard, clxiii., 416-17.]
them. Some had said, Oh, France won't The Return of the strength of the naval meddle with us as long as we have our and military forces of France, and the hands free ; but only wait till we get into state of advancement of the iron-cased trouble with some other Power, and then ships and batteries building on the 1st of see how the Emperor will act." Well, we January, 1862, did not confirm the state- bad recently had a difference with another ments made by Admiral Elliot after his Power, which assumed a threatening asAying visit to the Franch dockyards, and pect, and the Emperor had behaved in the endorsed by the right hon. Baronet the most friendly spirit. It was the French Member for Droitwich. It was now clear despatch which, in a large degree, helped that in May, 1861, no such progress had to extricate us from the American diffibeen made in the French iron vessels to culty. Now, under all these circumstances, justify the statement which was made to he (Mr. Lindsay) thought, that before the the House on the 31st of May by the House proceeded to consider the further right hon. Baronet on the authority of expenditure of money upon fortifications, Admiral Elliot; and that the statement he it was very desirable that full and exact
information should be supplied as to the those vessels, the Magenta and Solferino, actual naval force of France up to the would not be ready for trial trips belatest date possible. Now, he believed it fore October. Surely these figures did was correct as regarded numbers to say not justify any alarm on our part. If that France had built and was building 37 that was our present position, and an iron-cased ships, and England only 26. As emergency should arise, we could turn far as France was concerned, there were out three iron-cased ships for every one 6 iron-cased frigates to be completed this that France could turn out, and twice year. There were 10 ordered to be laid as many as all Europe put together could down in the winter of 1860-1, and the produce. During the last three years we building of which would extend over seven had voted £38,000,000 for our navy, years. Not one of those was to be while France in the same period had voted launched before 1863. Now, those made for hers only £17,600,000 ; and eren of altogether 16 sea-going vessels. The keel the latter sum £2,500,000 were on ac. of La Gloire was laid down in 1858. count of the expeditions to Cochin China Besides those he had enumerated, there and Mexico. It was said that France were four floating batteries for the defence nominally voted £5,000,000 and expended of the mouths of rivers and coasts, build - £7,000,000. He had before given the ing at Bordeaux, and they were nearly House the sums voted and the sums acready. There were also 7 other floating bat- tually expended in the two countries during teries of only 150.horse power each, which ten years, and had shown that the excess had just been ordered. There were 5 of expenditure over the Votes was not so gun boats, which were built for the Italian great in France as in England. It was war, and about which his noble Friend had constantly stated, that although we had alarmed the House. They were of 32- ships, we had not men. Now, France had horse power each, and besides there were this year voted 35,000 men for her navy, 5 batteries that were built for the Crimean and 10,000 more for Cochin and Mexico war, and they made the total of 37, with brought up the total to 46,000. It was a tonnage of 68,000. Noir, compare our said that maritime inscription gave her 26 vessels with these 37. We had 11 156,000 men ; but that number included completed this year, the tonnage being the whole of her merchant seamen, her 47,887, six in the course of construction, fishermen, bargemen, boys, and, in many each of which was 6,621 tons, making a cases, the labourers in her dockyards. On total for these six of 39,726 ; one battery, the other hand, we had 76,000 men on Captain Cole's principle, which was this year for our navy; our reserves 2,529 tons, and those 8 old batteries of might be taken at 40,000 more, alabout 16,000 tons; so that we had built and though, to be safe, he was willing to building 106,000 tons of iron-cased ships, take them at a smaller number ; and as against 68,000 built and building by when to these we added our mercantile France. [Lord CLARENCE Paget: How marine and the other classes comprised many guns?] As the English vessels within the French aggregate, we had a were each of about 6,600 tons, and the "stand-by,” if he might use the expresFrench of about 3,000, he presumed that sion, in round numbers of about 400,000 the English ones could carry double the men as against the 150,000 of France. In weight of metal of which the others were all these various elements of comparison, capable, or that, at least, they were stron- then, we were in advance not of France ger and more efficient in some other re- merely, but of France and any other two spect. If that were not the case, then the naval Powers. We were in as good a Admiralty, of course, did not know its position now with regard to our maritime duty, or it would build two vessels of the supremacy, whether in respect to our smaller kind for one of the larger sort. wooden ships or our iron ships, as we ever Therefore the number of guns did not much were at any time. Therefore, if we had matter. Should any emergency arise, we the command of the seas, he must look could build iron-cased ships faster than any upon these fortifications as unnecessary. other nation. It was, therefore, enough The House should therefore pause, esif we kept ahead of others in our naval pecially as severe distress prevailed in the force for the current year. France would manufacturing districts, before spending this year have ready for sea six iron-cased millions upon millions thus needlessly. vessels, of 23,000 tons, while we should Such a course, if persisted in, might pro have 11 vessels, of 47,887 tons. Two of duce greater internal dangers in this
country than any troubles with which it | fore, our iron-cased ships are of very
much could be threatened from abroad. For heavier tonnage than those of any other these reasons he had placed his Motion nation. Hon. Gentlemen who attend to on the paper, which he now begged to these subjects will find that there are many move
opinions as to the advisability of having
ships of this very large tonnage. But Amendment proposed,
when we come to guns, and the power of To leave out from the word " That” to the end throwing projectiles, I could show the of the Question, in order to add the words “ expedient to postpone the consideration of fur House that the proportion between this ther expenditure upon the proposed Fortifications country and France is not so favourable authorized by this Bill, until there have been laid to us as my hon. Friend supposes. But, before the House Copies or Extracts of Reports avoiding at present the making of any from our Naval Attaché at Paris, showing the detailed statement, I can only assure the state of the French Navy from time to time, at intervals not exceeding three months, during the House of this, that the French iron-cased years 1860 and 1861,"
navy has made very great progress. I -instead thereof.
never said myself, nor has my noble Friend Question proposed, “That the words or any other Member of the Government proposed to bc left out stand part of the haste or preparation on the part of France
ever stated, that there was any unusual Question.”
in reference to the increase of her navy. Lord CLARENCE PAGET: My hon. We know perfectly well that the conduct Friend the Member for Sunderland has, I of the French Emperor and the French naam happy to say, rectified a great many of tion has been loyal and generous towards the misstatements which he made, I have this country; we know that there has been no doubt unintentionally, in our recent no desire on their part to molest us ; but discussions in regard to the numbers we also know that by husbanding their reof the French navy. Now, I should be sources and by very great caro and expenready to remark on his quotations from diture the French navy is making very previous speeches of mine, but I certainly great progress, and is in a state of very great ihink it unadvisable that we should have perfection. In regard to the number of these periodical debates on the relative men, I could, if I did not think it very instrength of the French and English navies, expedient, go into details which would conentering into all these details. Every word vince the House that what my hon. Friend that my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) said about the comparative force of the has at various times_stated with regard to two countries is really fallacious in the exa the strength of the French navy is perfect- treme. And whether the Government of ly correct, and has been corroborated to England is composed of Gentlemen on tho night by the hon. Member for Sunderland one side of this House or on the other, it himself. He has given every ship, every behoves it to take proper steps to ascertain frigate, and every floating battery which what are the naval forces of other States, my noble Friend and I had before enume- and to regulate our doings by that which rated, and he has stated the numbers, the takes place in other European countries. force, and all the other details connected Having said that, I hope the House will with them. The only point, as I under- excuse me from entering into any
further stand it, upon which we are at issue is as particulars on the subject. to the state of forwardness of those ships. MR. COBDEN : If the noble Lord who With respect to tondage, my hon. Friend has just spoken, and the noble Viscount at knows as well as I can tell him that that the head of the Government, had held the is not one half as important as the question doctrine in times past that it was unadof guns. It is perfectly well known that visable to introduce into the debates of this the ships of our navy have always had to House references to the strength of the carry
in proportion to their ton- French navy, I should have agreed with nage than those of any other navy.
And them. But we hear that argument now Because our business bas been, for the first time. When we have before and is, to send our ships all over the world. us official and authentic facts by which we They have to go wherever they may have can prove that the statements which have to meet an enemy-north, south, east, or been made by the Government in times west ; whereas other Powers do not require past with regard to the strength of the to have their navy in so complete a sea- French navy have been entirely fallacious going stato as ours. Undoubtedly, there and delusivc, and when we seek to remove
that most lamentable spirit of animosity French dock yards. I do not give the which has been created towards the French total expenditure, because when you atGovernment and the French people by the tempt to draw a general comparison, there constant appeals to our fears on the ground are discrepancies in the mode of keeping that France was making undue naval pre- accounts which make it totally unreliable ; parations, I think this is not the moment but when you come to the amount er. for stifling discussion, but rather for exa- pended in Jabour you get a fair compamining the plain facts that are before us. rison. I will give, then, the amount esIs there a man in this country accustomed pended in the English and French dock. to pay any attention to this subject who yards from 1836 to 1847 in Louis Phi. has not been led to believe-mainly by the lippe's reign, and the amount expended statements of the noble Viscount, repeated from 1848 to 1859, during the time of the for many years past, on all occasions when present Emperor, In England the exopportunity offered--that France, during penditure for labour in the dockyards from the time the present Emperor has held 1836 to 1847 was £7,294,000, and in the sway there, has unduly raised the propor. French dockyards in the same time tion of naval force which in former times £4,540,100; showing an English excess it was customary for France to maintain of £2,750,000 during that period. Between as compared with ourselves ? Is there 1848 and 1859 the English expenditure anybody who doubts that France, during was £11,510,800 ; in the French dockthe time of the present Emperor, has yards for the same time it was £6,989,500; not had a larger navy in proportion to showing an English excess of £4,521,300 the English navy than she was accus. in the last period, against an excess of tomed to have in former times ? That has £2,750,000 in the time of Louis Philippe. been the general impression. That is So that, in fact, we have been spending the ground on which we have been asked during the last twelve years nearly double to vote these enormous Navy Estimates. of what we had spent, in comparison with It would be affectation in me to pretend the expenditure of France, in the former that I have not had as good opportuni- period. If these facts be true, and I ties for access to every official source of challenge the disproval of them, how is it information on both sides of the Channel that during the last twelve years, down to -as the noble Viscount himself; and I say, 1859, which immediately preceded the outin opposition to everything the noble Vis- burst of this mania for fortifications, with count has stated in the way of vague as any kind of management which could be sertion, that for the last twelve or fourteen tolerated by a business-like people, that years, during which the present ruler of France could get ahead of ourselves in France has had sway in one capacity or naval strength ? There is another and still another in that country, the French navy better test of the comparative strength of has borne less proportion-far less pro- the two navies than that of the expenditure portion-to the English navy than it did on dockyard labour, the number of men in the time of Louis Philippe. When I maintained in the navies in those respective make that assertion, in opposition to the periods. The yearly average of the num. noble Viscount, I wish it to be accepted ber of seamen in the English navy between only for what it is worth. I intend to sup. 1839 and 1847 was 38,120 and in the port it by specific proofs, for I hope we French navy 30,150, giving an English exhave now got to the end of those vague cess of 7,570 men in Louis Philippe's time. assertions under which, according to the The ycarly average of the number of seaold legal maxim, fraud lurks. Unwilling men in the English navy between 1848 and as I am to trouble the House with statis- 1859 was 51,660, and of the French nary tics, I feel bound to give them a few 33,150, giving an English excess of 18,510 figures on this matter; and first of all I in the latter period, as against 7,970 in the will give them the outlay in the French former period. To be still more specific, dockyards during the last twelve years of let us take the number of seamen in 1847, Louis Philippe's reign and the first twelve the last year of Louis Philippe's reign, and years of the Republic or Empire down to compare them with 1859, the last year for 1859, which is the last year for which we which we have officially audited returns, have the audited and official accounts of and the year which preceded the outburst France, and contrast it with the same ex- of the fortification scheme. The number penditure in the English dockyards. 1 of seamen in the English navy in 1847, take the expenditure for labour in the was 44,960, and in the French vavy 32,160;