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for asking a large Vote for fortifications the increasing armaments maintained by neighbouring Powers and especially by France. He referred to her great army, and more especially dwelt upon the fact that she had a navy which could not be required for purposes of defence; and that while she had increased her naval force our fleet had, owing to the change from sailing ships to steam ships, been diminished in number. On the faith of that statement the House readily granted a Vote of £2,000,000. Similar statements had been constantly made; but it was only within the last month that there had been laid upon the table, by command of Her Majesty, authentic reports respecting the naval and the military forces of France. Those reports appeared to him to differ in material particulars from the statements which had been made during the last two years, both by the noble Lord at the head of the Government and by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Admiralty, and he therefore thought that it would be well for the House to postpone the consideration of these fortifications until they had further information upon this subject. He was about to move that the consideration of further expenditure upon the fortifications authorized by this Bill should be postponed until there had been laid before the IIouse the reports of our naval attaché at Paris showing the state of the French navy at various periods during the years 1860 and 1861. The House would not have sanctioned so large an expenditure-it was questionable whether it would have sanctioned any expenditure for fortifications, but for the impression which was created by the statements of Her Majesty's Government that we were fast becoming, in comparison with France, only the second naval Power, and should not be able to maintain the command of the sea. What, however, were the facts? That we possesed more efficient steam vessels mounting twenty guns and upwards than all the rest of the world, France included, and that we had twenty more line-of-battle ships (the noble Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty himself admitted seventeen) than all the other nations of the world together. In 1860 the House voted £12,800,000 for the navy, and the number of men voted was 85,500, or 6,000 more than were voted while we were at war with Russia. The noble Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty, in asking for those Votes, stated Mr. Lindsay
that France had 244 steam vessels that could be mannned and sent to sea in a few weeks, some in a few days, and asked where we should be if hostilites broke out. The Government were not satisfied with the enormous wooden fleet which we then had, and during the year 1859-60 they built 85,000 tons of wooden ships, consisting of line-of-battle ships, frigates, and so forth. Yet at that time they must have known that France had long ceased to build wooden ships, and that one ironplated ship could destroy all our wooden ones. In 1861 the House voted for the navy) £12,029,000 besides £250,000, an instalment of £2,500,000, which was voted later in the Session. The number of men was 78,200. The noble Lord, in moving those Estimates, observed that it was impossible that our force, either in men or ships, could be fixed without relation to the forces of other Powers, and stated that France had then two very large and powerful iron-cased ships, which they ranked as line-of-battle ships, mounting fifty-two rifled guns each; four powerful vessels which they called iron-cased frigates, mounting from forty to thirty-six guns; four of a very formidable class, called floating-batteries, mounting fourteen guns each; and, in addition to all these, five gunboats of a very formidable character. He thus made it appear that in March, 1861, France had built or was building fifteen iron-cased ships, while we had only seven under construction; and on the faith of that statement of things the House readily granted the large sum of money which he had mentioned. There was a very long discussion upon those Estimates, and in the course of it the noble Lord stated that the Magenta and Solferino would be ready for launching in a very short period and might be sent to sea in a few months, and that of the four frigates one was then at sea and the others were ready. He was in Paris ; and having confidence in the statements of the noble Lord and the noble Viscount as to the immense preparations of France, he took occasion to speak to the Minister of Marine, and the Minister of Marine said that the iron-cased ships were not in the advanced state which was represented. The Minister of Marine, moreover, placed in his hands the means of contradicting these statements. He (Mr. Lindsay) alse mentioned the subject to M. Chevalier, who wrote him a note which he read to the House at the time. He, however,
thought it necessary to trouble the House | had himself previously made on the autho-
"You have a full statement of our navy in a
blue-book placed in a solemn manner before your
Now, observe those two years dated from
"The practical point we arrive at is, that the French are rapidly preparing 15 powerful armourplated ships, to be added to 9 of a different description also covered with armour, giving them in the whole a force of 24 armour-covered ships,
exclusive of the old batteries which were used
sures me. •
during the Russian war. ... Admiral Elliot as-
ment. The point to which I invite atten-precated, because it would give offence to
The Return of the strength of the naval and military forces of France, and the state of advancement of the iron-cased ships and batteries building on the 1st of January, 1862, did not confirm the statements made by Admiral Elliot after his flying visit to the Franch dockyards, and endorsed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich. It was now clear that in May, 1861, no such progress had been made in the French iron vessels to justify the statement which was made to the House on the 31st of May by the right hon. Baronet on the authority of Admiral Elliot; and that the statement he
France, and the people of England were convinced that the French Emperor had acted most honourably and fairly towards them. Some had said, "Oh, France won't meddle with us as long as we have our hands free; but only wait till we get into trouble with some other Power, and then see how the Emperor will act." Well, we had recently had a difference with another Power, which assumed a threatening aspect, and the Emperor had behaved in the most friendly spirit. It was the French despatch which, in a large degree, helped to extricate us from the American difficulty. Now, under all these circumstances, he (Mr. Lindsay) thought, that before the House proceeded to consider the further expenditure of money upon fortifications, it was very desirable that full and exact
information should be supplied as to the actual naval force of France up to the latest date possible. Now, he believed it was correct as regarded numbers to say that France had built and was building 37 iron-cased ships, and England only 26. As far as France was concerned, there were 6 iron-cased frigates to be completed this year. There were 10 ordered to be laid down in the winter of 1860-1, and the building of which would extend over seven years. Not one of those was to be launched before 1863. Now, those made altogether 16 sea-going vessels. The keel of La Gloire was laid down in 1858. Besides those he had enumerated, there were four floating batteries for the defence of the mouths of rivers and coasts, building at Bordeaux, and they were nearly ready. There were also 7 other floating batteries of only 150-horse power each, which had just been ordered. There were 5 gun boats, which were built for the Italian war, and about which his noble Friend had alarmed the House. They were of 32horse power each, and besides there were 5 batteries that were built for the Crimean war, and they made the total of 37, with a tonnage of 68,000. Now, compare our 26 vessels with these 37. We had 11 completed this year, the tonnage being 47,887, six in the course of construction, each of which was 6,621 tons, making a total for these six of 39,726; one battery, on Captain Cole's principle, which was 2,529 tons, and those 8 old batteries of about 16,000 tons; so that we had built and building 106,000 tons of iron-cased ships, as against 68,000 built and building by France. [Lord CLARENCE PAGET: How many guns?] As the English vessels were each of about 6,600 tons, and the French of about 3,000, he presumed that the English ones could carry double the weight of metal of which the others were capable, or that, at least, they were stronger and more efficient in some other respect. If that were not the case, then the Admiralty, of course, did not know its duty, or it would build two vessels of the smaller kind for one of the larger sort. Therefore the number of guns did not much matter. Should any emergency arise, we could build iron-cased ships faster than any other nation. It was, therefore, enough if we kept ahead of others in our naval force for the current year. France would this year have ready for sea six iron-cased vessels, of 23,000 tons, while we should have 11 vessels, of 47,887 tons. Two of Mr. Lindsay
those vessels, the Magenta and Solferino, would not be ready for trial trips before October. Surely these figures did not justify any alarm on our part. If that was our present position, and an emergency should arise, we could turn out three iron-cased ships for every one that France could turn out, and twice as many as all Europe put together could produce. During the last three years we had voted £38,000,000 for our navy, while France in the same period had voted for hers only £17,600,000; and even of the latter sum £2,500,000 were on account of the expeditions to Cochin China and Mexico. It was said that France nominally voted £5,000,000 and expended £7,000,000. He had before given the House the sums voted and the sums actually expended in the two countries during ten years, and had shown that the excess of expenditure over the Votes was not so great in France as in England. It was constantly stated, that although we had ships, we had not men. Now, France had this year voted 35,000 men for her navy, and 10,000 more for Cochin and Mexico brought up the total to 46,000. It was said that maritime inscription gave her 156,000 men; but that number included the whole of her merchant seamen, her fishermen, bargemen, boys, and, in many cases, the labourers in her dockyards. On the other hand, we had 76,000 men this year for our navy; our reserves might be taken at 40,000 more, although, to be safe, he was willing to take them at a smaller number; and when to these we added our mercantile marine and the other classes comprised within the French aggregate, we had a
stand-by," if he might use the expression, in round numbers of about 400,000 men as against the 150,000 of France. In all these various elements of comparison, then, we were in advance not of France merely, but of France and any other two naval Powers. We were in as good a position now with regard to our maritime supremacy, whether in respect to our wooden ships or our iron ships, as we ever were at any time. Therefore, if we had the command of the seas, he must look upon these fortifications as unnecessary. The House should therefore pause, especially as severe distress prevailed in the manufacturing districts, before spending millions upon millions thus needlessly. Such a course, if persisted in, might produce greater internal dangers in this
country than any troubles with which it | fore, our iron-cased ships are could be threatened from abroad. For heavier tonnage than those of 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 opinions as to the advisability of having But ships of this very large tonnage. when we come to guns, and the power of throwing projectiles, I could show the House that the proportion between this country and France is not so favourable to us as my hon. Friend supposes. But, avoiding at present the making of any detailed statement, I can only assure the House of this, that the French iron-cased navy has made very great progress. never said myself, nor has my noble Friend or any other Member of the Government ever stated, that there was any unusual haste or preparation on the part of France in reference to the increase of her navy. We know perfectly well that the conduct of the French Emperor and the French nation has been loyal and generous towards this country; we know that there has been no desire on their part to molest us; but we also know that by husbanding their resources and by very great care and expenditure the French navy is making very great progress, and is in a state of very great perfection. In regard to the number of men, I could, if I did not think it very inexpedient, go into details which would convince the House that what my hon. Friend said about the comparative force of the two countries is really fallacious in the extreme. And whether the Government of England is composed of Gentlemen on tho one side of this House or on the other, it behoves it to take proper steps to ascertain what are the naval forces of other States, and to regulate our doings by that which takes place in other European countries. any further Having said that, I hope the House will excuse me from entering into particulars on the subject.
MR. COBDEN: If the noble Lord who has just spoken, and the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, had held the doctrine in times past that it was unadvisable to introduce into the debates of this House references to the strength of the French navy, I should have agreed with them. But we hear that argument now for the first time.
When we have before us official and authentic facts by which we can prove that the statements which have been made by the Government in times past with regard to the strength of the French navy have been entirely fallacious and delusive, and when we seek to remove
To leave out from the word "That " to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it is expedient to postpone the consideration of further expenditure upon the proposed Fortifications authorized by this Bill, until there have been laid before the House Copies or Extracts of Reports from our Naval Attaché at Paris, showing the state of the French Navy from time to time, at intervals not exceeding three months, during the years 1860 and 1861,'
"That the words Question proposed, proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
LORD CLARENCE PAGET: My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland has, I am happy to say, rectified a great many of the misstatements which he made, I have no doubt unintentionally, in our recent discussions in regard to the numbers of the French navy. Now, I should be ready to remark on his quotations from previous speeches of mine, but I certainly think it unadvisable that we should have these periodical debates on the relative strength of the French and English navies, entering into all these details. Every word that my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) has at various times stated with regard to the strength of the French navy is perfectly correct, and has been corroborated to night by the hon. Member for Sunderland himself. He has given every ship, every frigate, and every floating battery which had before enumemy noble Friend and rated, and he has stated the numbers, the force, and all the other details connected with them. The only point, as I understand it, upon which we are at issue is as to the state of forwardness of those ships. With respect to tonnage, my hon. Friend knows as well as I can tell him that that is not one-half as important as the question of guns. It is perfectly well known that the ships of our navy have always had to carry fewer guns in proportion to their tonnage than those of any other navy. And why? Because our business has been, and is, to send our ships all over the world. They have to go wherever they may have to meet an enemy-north, south, east, or west; whereas other Powers do not require to have their navy in so complete a seagoing state as ours. Undoubtedly, there
mining the plain facts that are before us. Is there a man in this country accustomed to pay any attention to this subject who has not been led to believe-mainly by the statements of the noble Viscount, repeated for many years past, on all occasions when opportunity offered-that France, during the time the present Emperor has held sway there, has unduly raised the proportion of naval force which in former times it was customary for France to maintain as compared with ourselves? Is there anybody who doubts that France, during the time of the present Emperor, has not had a larger navy in proportion to the English navy than she was accustomed to have in former times? That has been the general impression. That is the ground on which we have been asked to vote these enormous Navy Estimates. It would be affectation in me to pretend that I have not had as good opportunities for access to every official source of information on both sides of the Channel as the noble Viscount himself; and I say, in opposition to everything the noble Viscount has stated in the way of vague assertion, that for the last twelve or fourteen years, during which the present ruler of France has had sway in one capacity or another in that country, the French navy has borne less proportion-far less proportion to the English navy than it did in the time of Louis Philippe. When I make that assertion, in opposition to the noble Viscount, I wish it to be accepted only for what it is worth. I intend to support it by specific proofs, for I hope we have now got to the end of those vague assertions under which, according to the old legal maxim, fraud lurks. Unwilling as I am to trouble the House with statisties, I feel bound to give them a few figures on this matter; and first of all I will give them the outlay in the French dockyards during the last twelve years of Louis Philippe's reign and the first twelve years of the Republic or Empire down to 1859, which is the last year for which we have the audited and official accounts of France, and contrast it with the same expenditure in the English dockyards. 1 take the expenditure for labour in the Mr. Cobden
that most lamentable spirit of animosity | French dockyards. 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 exfor stifling discussion, but rather for exa-pended in labour you get a fair comparison. I will give, then, the amount expended in the English and French dockyards from 1836 to 1847 in Louis Philippe's reign, and the amount expended from 1848 to 1859, during the time of the present Emperor. In England the expenditure for labour in the dockyards from 1836 to 1847 was £7,294,000, and in the French dockyards in the same time £4,540,100; showing an English excess of £2,750,000 during that period. Between 1848 and 1859 the English expenditure was £11,510,800; in the French dockyards for the same time it was £6,989,500; showing an English excess of £4,521,300 in the last period, against an excess of £2,750,000 in the time of Louis Philippe. So that, in fact, we have been spending during the last twelve years nearly double of what we had spent, in comparison with the expenditure of France, in the former period. If these facts be true, and I challenge the disproval of them, how is it that during the last twelve years, down to 1859, which immediately preceded the outburst of this mania for fortifications, with any kind of management which could be tolerated by a business-like people, that France could get ahead of ourselves in naval strength? There is another and still better test of the comparative strength of the two navies than that of the expenditure on dockyard labour-the number of men maintained in the navies in those respective periods. The yearly average of the number of seamen in the English navy between 1839 and 1847 was 38,120 and in the French navy 30,150, giving an English excess of 7,570 men in Louis Philippe's time. The yearly_average of the number of seamen in the English navy between 1848 and 1859 was 51,660, and of the French navy 33,150, giving an English excess of 18,510 in the latter period, as against 7,970 in the former period. To be still more specific, let us take the number of seamen in 1847, the last year of Louis Philippe's reign, and compare them with 1859, the last year for which we have officially audited returns, and the year which preceded the outburst of the fortification scheme. The number of seamen in the English navy in 1847, was 44,960, and in the French navy 32,160;