Page images
PDF
EPUB

the reign of Louis Philippo and the other the official return placed in our hands by under the present Emperor of France. the Government I find that the French Let me remind the House that nothing can had, on January 1, 1862, six iron-plated be more fallacious than to make a com. frigates afloat and ten building, making parison of the navies of England and a total of sixteen. Admiral Elliot stated France founded solely upon statements of the number of iron-plated vessels of other the money expended during two periods. descriptions at nine; while by the Return The rates of wages, the prices of every it appears the French have twelve afloat element of shipbuilding, are so different. and two building, being a total of thirty, [Mr. COBDEN : Labour. ] I said so. But instead of twenty-four, which was my that is not the most important fault I have statement last year. The hon. Member to find with the hon. Gentleman's state for Sunderland has referred to the state of ment. He told us of a programme issued progress of those ships ; but there is this by the Emperor Louis Napoleon in 1857. difference—that he speaks of July, 1862, Let me remind the House that the year and I made the statement in question in 1857 was the year preceding the com- May, 1861. I have spoken on the authomencement of the idea of armour-plated rity of this paper of sixteen iron-plated ships ; therefore you cannot attach much frigates. I do not, however, know wheimportanco to a programme of 1857. Ither the Solferino and the Magenta are must also remark, that during the whole included in that number of sixteen, for of the lion. Member's speech he did not they ought not to be classed as frigates say one word about what has been passing they are two-decked vessels, carrying more in England or France since 1859. In 1859 powerful guns than any ships in the French we commenced building iron-plated ships, or English navy. Captain Hore had fully and, under correction, I believe all the accounted for the delay to which allusion noble Viscount's speeches, and certainly had been made, the spur with which the all my statements which have been made bow of the Solferino was to be armed since 1859, have had reference to the having been reduced from twenty-seven efforts of France to rival this country and tons to sixteen tons weight, and a similar to surpass us in the construction of armour- delay having occurred in regard to the plated ships. I appeal to the papers upon Magenta. I think that Her Majesty's which the hon. Members for Rochdale and Government are right in the course they Sunderland have founded their statements bave taken on this subject, and I trust to prove that the noble Viscount and the they will continue to pursue the same line Secretary for the Admiralty were right, of policy. and that at this moment France is ahead Viscount PALMERSTON: I should of England in this important element of like to ask the House whether we are disnaval strength, and that it behoves the cussing the Naval Estimates of the year, Government not to discontinue the efforts or whether we are discussing plans for the they have made. The hon. Member has permanent fortifications of the dockyards ? repeated that he desires to see the navy of The two speeches of the lon. Member England superior to that of France, and for Sunderland and the hon. Member for that he would sanction any expenditure Rochdale had no bearing on the question necessary for that object. But upon that now under discussion, but turned upon a principle the House is not justified in find- simple comparison between the existing ing fault with the lato nor the present navy of France and the existing navy of Admiralty for their efforts to make the England. Now, the hon. Member for navy of England superior to that of France. Rochdale seems to be excessively angry The hon. Member communicated his in- with me. He accuses me of indiscretion, of tention of impugning, I will not say my levity, and of every possible breach of every statements, but those of a gallant officer possible duty that is incumbent upon a Prime whose name I used. Now, I am bound Minister. I receive these accusations from to stato, in justice to that gallant officer, him with the utmost possible quietness. that the hon. Member has failed to im- I differ so entirely from the hon. Member pugn his statement, and that the facts, that it is quite natural I should feel proud indeed, completely justify every word that of being the object of the hon. Member's Admiral EViot advanced. My statement attacks. He said that I am actuated by was, that the French had fifteen iron- an idea. Sir, I am actuated by an idea. plated frigates and line-of-battle ships, and My idea seems never to have entered the niue others of different descriptions. In fertile brain of the hon. Member. My

Sir John Pukington

I was

idea is that England ought to be defended, them beforehand, can avail to ward off a that her navy cannot exist without dock- sudden attack. It is blindness and infayards, and that those dockyards must be tuation on the part of the hon. Member to placed in a safe position against sudden entertain these views, and I am astonished attacks. That is an idea that has never that he should not be conscious of that entered into the mind of the hon. Member. which any man who lias thought at all on The hon. Member has told us that he is this subject must comprehend. The hon. ready to spend £100,000,000 to maintain Member accuses me of great exaggeration a good navy. Now, we do not ask him to with regard to the French army and navy. do any such thing. We ask for no more Now, I utterly deny that I have been than the moderate sum recommended by guilty of any exaggeration. The hon. the Defence Commissioners to place our Member for Sunderland has confirmed the naval arsenals in a state of safety. I say statement that I made, and it has been that the hon. Member for Rochdale is in further confirmed by the papers laid bea state of blindness and delusion which fore the House. Now, with regard to the renders him utterly unfit to be listened to by French army, I stated on a recent occathe country as an adviser on matters of this sion that the French army on the 1st of sort. When the hon. Member deals in mat- January consisted of 446,000 men under ters that he understands—when he descants arms, and 170,000 men of the reserve, on questions of free trade and commerce, making a total of 616,000 men. we generally listen to the hon. Gentle- reported to have made that total 816,000. man with the utmost deference and respect. It is very seldom that those gentlemen He understands those subjects ; he is im- who report our debates in this House combued with sound principles, and his con- mit an error, and an error in one figure clusions command our assent. But he is not unnatural. But my statement goes beyond his crepidam on such matters was 616,000, and not 816,000. The as these. When he descants on our naval French Moniteur corrected my stateand military defences, he goes beyond the ment; and what was that correction ? scope of his knowledge, and beyond the It charged me with having made a little reach to which bis understanding has ex

error both in the force under arms tended, and he becomes a most dangerous and in reserve, and the aggregate was adviser for this Housc and the country. stated by the Moniteur to be 612,000 [“Oh!”] Why, Sir, I say it is so, because instead of 616,000. That was the corthe hon. Member declares that it is pre-rection of the Moniteur, which completely sumption in any one to state that he is not and substantially affirmed the statement as anxious for the honour, and dignity, and that I had made. My statement with redefence of the country as any man living. spect to the National Guards was also subAnd the defence he proposes is reducing stantially true. Then, with regard to the your army and your navy, and leaving your French navy, the Returns laid upon the dockyards unfortified ; because, he says, table and the statements of the hon. Mem. you have increased your manufacturing ber for Sunderland have shown that the capital and your workmen in Birmingham, number of iron-clad ships in the French Sheffield, Manchester, and other hives of navy is greater than that which I repreindustry and capital. But the richer you sented last year. The hon. Member has

your wealth, the stated that they have thirty-seven and we more you invite attack. The very accu- have twenty-seven, and those are very mulation of wealth in the country is the much about the relative numbers. I said reason why a part of that wealth should be that they were thirty-six and twenty-five, devoted to national defence. And, as to and he says they are thirty-seven and. the fact of your having plenty of workmen twenty-seven respectively. Whether we and artisans in your manufacturing towns, take one statement or the other, it is you cannot reckon upon them for the de admitted that in iron-plated ships, which fence of the country against a sudden at- are to be regarded in future as the real tack, because there would not be time to strength of a navy, a neighbouring Power bring those labouring men from the centre is stronger than ourselves. Well, then, of England, and organize them as a mili- the hon. Member for Rochdale has retary or naval body, or set them to work to peated this evening the statement which make fortifications. Why, it is childishi, he published in his pamphlet, and has ento imagine that the possession of these deavoured to show the comparative amount resources, if you do not avail yourselves of of labour employed in the dockyards of

you
do not defend

are, if

England and France at certain periods, will be shared in by the country, because and the amount of the Naval Estimates of I have a conviction that these opinions the two countries. Now, the right hon. are confined to a few persons ; and, so far Baronet the Member for Droitwich has from my being afraid of any responsibility very properly stated that that comparison which I am incurring in proposing that is fundamentally fallacious—fallacious upon we should defend our dockyards, I should the ground of the money expended on feel myself unworthy to hold the posiworkmen. A man in the French dock- tion which I occupy—I would not conyards gets 28. 6d., a man in the English tinue to be responsible if I thought that 4s. 6d. a day. It is evident, therefore, the Members of this House would not furthat with the same number of men work-nish the means of defence wbich I consider ing, the cost of the English dockyards absolutely indispensable for the future semust, from the rate of wages, be greater. curity of this country. I therefore have Then, with regard to the ships in commis. an “idea ” which the bon. Member has sion, the general expenditure in wages of not, that “idea" been deeply implanted in a 90-gun ship in the two services is as my mind. So far from believing that the £19,000 a year for a French ship, to attacks of the hon. Member will do me the £29,000 for an English, so that the latter least damage in the estimation of my councost £10,000 a year more. Well, all that trymen, I am glad that he has had an opshows, that the forces being equal, the portunity of pointing out distinctly the actual expenditure of the one country must wide difference of opinion between himself be much larger than that of the other. and me. With regard to the defence of Therefore, it is perfectly fallacious, as a the country, my mode is different from his. measure of relative strength, to tell us Whatever he may say with regard to the only what is spent, unless you also take improbability of war, though his advice may into account the disproportion between the bewages of labour, Well, Sir, I shall not “Oremus pacem, et dextras tendamus inermes," iutrude long upon the attention of the I, on the contrary, am for preparing ourHouse, because it does really appear to me, selves for war in time of peace, and doing as was stated by the right hon. Baronet it scientifically, and with forethought. I the Member for Droit wich, that all the am for preparing ourselves for the storm eloquence which we have heard from the that may or may not come, and then we two hon. Members was utterly beside the may reckon on a continuance of peace ; question. Granted, if you will, that there for we may depend upon it there is nothing is at present no appearance or any likeli- which will contribute so much to the perhood of war between the two countries ; manent peace and security of the country that is the reason why you ought to em- as its being known to foreign nations that ploy the interval of peace in placing your we are in a condition to defend ourselves if selves in a condition to meet a different attacked. As to the expense which these state of things. It is the utmost degree fortifications will involve, I will ask any of folly to conclude that because this year, ( hon. Member to compare it with the disasor next year, or the year after, we are not trous consequences of the presence of an likely to have our relations with a neighi- invading force in this country for a fort. bouring Power altered, we are therefore night or a month. Let us see what war is to leave our dockyards in a state which, costing that republic beyond the Atlantic, if anything were to happen, would not find let us see the efforts that nation has been them in a condition of adequate defence. compelled to make because there was no If we were proposing something that could previous preparation. They had all on a be accomplished in twelve months, or a sudden to organize what they wanted for couple of years, I should deem the argu- the contest they are engaged in. Let not ment of the hon. Member of some force us, in this country, fall into the same error; and value ; but that which we are propos- let us do what we can quietly and econoing to you is a measure founded upon deep mically ; let us prepare what is necessary reflection, and calculated to endure for å for any contingency that may happen, and length of time. We ask you to place our when that is done we shall have done more dockyards in that position in which they for peace than the commercial treaty of will be safe from attack by any foreign the right hon. Gentleman. We shall have Power. And here I must say that I en. done more than his free trade. We shall tertain very little apprehension that the have done that which I trust will make us feelings the hon. Member for Rochdale respected by other countries, and will tend

Viscount Palmerston

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

COMMITTEE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to the security and permanence of that Amendment proposed,
peace which I have as much at heart as

To leave out from the word “ That” to the end he has, though I think I go a better way of the Question, in order to add the words “ this about preserving it.

House will, upon this day three months, resolve

itself into the said Committee,”
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

-instead thereof.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill considered in Committee.

Question, "That the words proposed to

be left out stand part of the Question,” House resumed.

put, and agreed to. Committee report Progress ;

to sit
again on Thursday.

Main Question put, and agreed to.
House in Committee.

Clause 1 agreed to.
COUNTY SURVEYORS (IRELAND) BILL.

Clause 2.
(BILL NO. 122.]

MR. SCULLY moved that the Chair. Order for Committee read.

man should report progress. Motion made, and Question proposed,

Motion made, and Question put, “That “ That Mr. Speaker do now leave the the Chairman do report Progress, and ask Chair.”

leave to sit again. MR. SCULLY moved, as an Amend- The Committee divided : Ayes 5; ment, that the Bill be committed this day Noes 62 : Majority 57. three months. He thought that it was too late an hour (a quarter past one

SIR ROBERT PEEL said, that seeing o'clock) to commence a discussion on the such a determination evinced on the part The present mode, according of some of the Members from Ireland to

he to which the county surveyors in Ireland offer every opposition to the measure, were appointed, was better than the plan should move that the Chairman should proposed by this Bill, which would estab- report progress and ask leave to sit again. lish a system of centralization, inasmuch

Mr. 'HENNESSY stated his determias the qualifications of candidates were to nation to oppose the measure throughout. be examined into by the Civil Service

COLONEL DICKSON hoped that the
Commissioners in England instead of by right hon. Gentleman would not be in-
the Board now appointed by the Lord duced to withdraw the measure.
Lieutenant of Ireland. His opinion was

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, his
that even with the Amendments of which right hon. Friend had no intention of
notice had been given, the Bill could not withdrawing the Bill.
be made a presentable measure ; and he House resumed.
concluded by moving that the House should Committee report Progress ; to sit again
go into Committee upon it that day three on Thursday.
months.

House adjourned at Three o'clock,

measure.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

[INDEX

2, wala

« PreviousContinue »