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upon this subject, Lord Palmer- state of the French navy from ston, he observed, had forgotten time to time, at intervals not exhis own change of opinion, espe. ceeding three months, during cially with relation to France. the years 1860 and 1861." He considered that the Govern. Mr. Lindsay complained of the ment were entering upon a new enormous sums voted in succes. and dangerous career in raising sive years for the navy, on the funds for a large expenditure, faith of statements with respect not by taxation, but by loan. to the naval preparations of Under the circumstances, how. France, which he declared to be ever, the great point was to get greatly in excess of the truth. the Bill (to be founded upon the Before the House sanctioned the Resolution into Committee, when fortifications now proposed, it the whole scheme could be dis- ought to have accurate informacussed in detail, and he thought tion as to the real state of the it would be therefore better that French navy. In iron-cased ves. the amendment should not be sels, Mr. Lindsay averred we pressed.
were greatly in advance of our After a reply from Mr. B. Os. neighbours; we could build ships borne, who stated that he did not faster than any other country ; wish to press his amendment, and he contended that it was the Resolution, as proposed by sufficient for us to keep ahead Sir G. Lewis, was agreed to. of foreign Powers from year to · A Bill was therefore brought year. in to give effect to the Resolu. Lord C. Paget, while declining tion of the House, but at several for prudential reasons to follow stages of its progress it met with Mr. Lindsay in the details of vigorous opposition. Mr. Lind. his statement, assured the House say availed himself of a motion that the French iron-cased navy for going into Committee on the was making great progress, and Bill to revive the discussion as attaining considerable perfection. to the relative strength of the Mr. Cobden observed that facts French navy and our own, espe- proved that the former statements cially in respect to iron-cased as to the French navy had been vessels, a point in which he re- incorrect; and he asked whether peated his allegation that the there was any man accustomed Government had exaggerated the to public affairs who had not been amount of the French force in led by Lord Palmerston to beorder to induce the House to lieve that the French had unduly consent to their propositions. altered the proportion which their Mr. Lindsay moved a Resolution Davy bore to ours in former in the following terms:
times ? That was the reason " That it is expedient to post. why the House bad been called pone the consideration of further upon to vote enormous estimates cxpenditure upon the proposed for the nary. He had had as fortifications, authorized by this good an opportunity as Lord Bill, until there have been laid Palmerston himself of knowing before the House copies or ex: the state of both navies, and he tracts of reports from our Naval undertook to say, in opposition Attaché at Paris, showing the to his assertion, that for the last twelve or fourteen years the rival and even to surpass this French navy had borne a far less country. He hoped the Govern. proportion to that of England ment would go on in the course than in the time of Louis Philippe. they had pursued. He read statements of the ex Lord Palmerston observed that penditure in the French and he received the accusations of English dockyards, and of the Mr. Cobden with the utmost posnumber of seamen in the two sible quietness. Differing as they navies, and asked, if these state- did, these accusations were quite ments could not be gainsaid, natural. Mr. Cobden was in a what foundation was there for state of blindness and delusion, these gigantic fortifications? He which made him unfit to be maintained that the exaggerated listened to as an adviser upon a accounts of the increase of the question of this kind. He had French navy were wholly delu- accused him of great exaggera. sive, and he cited various state- tions. He denied the charge ; ments made by Lord Palmerston his statements had been conof the forces of France, naval firmed by papers before the and military, the correctness of House. Mr. Cobden had insti. which he challenged. He called tuted a comparison between the attention to the amount of re. expenditure in the French and sponsibility which rested upon English dockyards and the naval the Government and upon the estimates in the two countries; House in this matter of arma- but these comparisons were funments. It was a dangerous doc- damentally fallacious as a meatrine to hold, that because a Prime sure of relative strength. He was Minister made an assertion that satisfied that the ideas of Mr. House was absolved from respon. Cobden upon this subject were sibility. It was the duty of the confined to a very few, and that House to see that the grounds his censures would not damage assigned for voting large sums him (Lord Palmierston) in the were valid grounds, and did not opinion of his countrymen. exist merely in the excited imagi. The withdrawal of Mr. Lindnation of a Prime Minister. say's Resolution terminated the
Sir J. Pakington observed that debate. though Mr. Cobden had charged The opposition to the expendiLord Palmerston with making ture proposed by the Governvague and exaggerated statements ment upon the fortification of as to the navy of France, he be. the coasts and arsenals was relieved he had never made such newed with much vigour by Mr. statements. The comparison Mr. Bernal Osborne, who, in a ComCobden had made of the two mittee of the whole House upon Davies had no more to do with the question, moved that the sum the question than if he had of 1,200,0001. asked by Ministers spoken of the state of the navies should be reduced to 800,0001. of France and England in the Mr. Osborne commented in time of the Spanish armada. He strong terms upon the plan had not said a word of what had adopted by the Government, occurred since 1859, when the which, he said, was not the oriFrench began their efforts to ginal plan recommended by the Defence Commissioners, and he practicable as Mr. Osborne precited the opinion of an eminent tended. The question, as he had foreign engineer against the said, was one of authority, and scheme contemplated; he en- Sir J. Burgoyne, whose opinion larged also upon the impedi- had been cited in opposition to ments placed in the way of in the plan, had declared that, as a vasion in the face of a steam whole, it was correct and effinavy. He maintained, upon pro- cient. fessional authority, that steam Captain Jervis answered some had increased the power of de of Mr. B. Osborne's objections fence as well as of offence, and, on points of detail, and contended so far from having impaired the that he had much exaggerated means of blockade, had rendered the expense of the works. Sir blockade more effectual. But, F. Smith opposed the execution supposing our navy defeated, and of the scheme as proposed, and 100,000 men landed upon our urged that it required further coast, he undertook to show that consideration. a force of 320,000 could be quickly Sir G. Lewis observed that collected to oppose them. The ex- the main argument of Mr. Os. tent of the proposed fortifications borne turned upon the question would demand garrisons, and thus of invasion; he had said there necessitate a large increase of our was no reasonable ground to regular army, especially of artil. dread it, and that any security lerymen, to work the 6000 guns. against it was therefore superflu. This was not, he observed, the ous and a waste of the public system of defence suggested by money. He (Sir George) was at the Duke of Wellington and Sir issue with him upon this point. John Burgoyne; and he alluded His belief was, that an invasion to certain reports as to the con- by one country, with a powerful dition of some of the forts already fleet, of another was by no means erected, which showed. he said, a difficult operation. We had that efficiency and increased ex. never found any difficulty in landpense were not, as had been as- ing troops in a foreign country, serted, convertible terms.
But these works were only in. Mr. H. A. Bruce said, after listen tended to defend vulnerable points ing to the criticisms and sarcasms - places which it was important of Mr. Osborne, the question, for an enemy to attack-our dockafter all, was, were we to take the yards and arsenals. As to the opinion of eminent skilled per- garrisons, it was not to be supsons, or be guided by Mr. Osborne posed that the whole of our coast and Sir M. Peto? Alterations had would be simultaneously invaded. certainly been made in the plan Lord Palmerston said that there originally proposed by the Com- was nothing in Mr. Osborne's missioners, but they had acceded speech that had not been urged to the alterations. It was not over and over again, and as often put forward that the plan was to answered. He had argued that prevent invasion; it was to pro- it was impossible for this country tect our dockyards and for the to be invaded, and that these general desence of the coun- works were of no use. Such an try; but invasion was not so im argument might be maintained
at a dinner party or a club, but it it was not competent to any was unworthy of a sensible man member of the Government, when in that House. Nothing was he had given his consent to a more easy than an invasion, un measure, to exempt himself from less there was on the spot a large responsibility by absenting him. fleet, or an army as strong as the self from the House. He had invading force, and this we could been committed to this plan as a not be sure of. It would be worth member of the Government; his while for an enemy to sacrifice absence from the House had been a great number of men for the accidental, and in no degree destruction of our dockyards. owing to the motive suggested.
Mr. Cobden, after referring to After some further debate, Mr. a former debate, in which he said Osborne's amendment was negahe had been flatly contradicted tived on a division by 110 to 62. by Lord Palmerston in a matter Sir S. Northcote moved to inof fact, observed, with regard to sert in the Bill the following prothese fortifications, that all of viso:-“That it shall not be lawthem were simply the work of that ful to apply any of such sums to noble lord. The Chancellor of any work not specifically named the Exchequer had ostentatiously in the schedule, nor to apply to abstained from giving his support any work any greater sum than is to the scheme; he was not pre- set down as the total estimated sent at this discussion. Yet Lord cost, nor to make any contract Palmerston knew no more about involving the expenditure in any fortifications than he (Mr. Cobden) district of a greater sum than is did; he took up opinions at second- set down to be expended on the hand. Mr. Osborne had quoted works in that district within the authorities, the opinions of naval period ending on the 1st of Auand military men; who were to gust, 1863, unless such contract be believed? These authorities has been previously approved by or Lord Palmerston? There were a resolution of the House in two questions in this case; the Committee of Supply." He exfortifications, under certain cir- plained what he considered would cumstances, might be very desir- be the effect of this proviso, and able, but the expense might not his object in proposing it, which be very desirable, and engineers was to endeavour to keep this honestly confessed that they did scheme under the control of the not consider the question of ex- House. He objected strongly to pense, which was not their busi- the raising of money for such ness. Why, then, should the purposes by Bill and annuities, public money be wasted by mil- instead of by a vote upon Estilions when there was at least a mate in a Committee of Supply. discordance between authorities ? Sir G. Lewis, premising that
The Chancellor of the Exche. the Government had no wish to quer, in reply to the observation withdraw the scheme from the of Mr. Cobden, that he had, in control of the House, said he was & marked manner, shown disap- prepared to assent to the earlier probation of these fortifications portion of the proviso, but there by absenting himself from the would be difficulties in adopting House during the discussion, said that portion relating to contracts. The proviso, as amended by Sir 1,200,0001. to carry out a portion G.Lewis's suggestion, was agreed of the scheme of National Deto.
fences which had been sanctioned Mr. Bentinck moved that the by Parliament in 1860. proposed works in Plymouth A debate of considerable inteSound should be postponed, un- rest took place on the proposition til a decision had been come to of the Government. by the Government, respecting The Earl of Ellenborough said the forts at Spithead. This mo. he was not content with the mode tion, being resisted by the Go- in which the works for the devernment, was rejected by 149 fence of the country had been to 89.
carried out. He complained of Mr. Monsell contended that the distribution of these works the forts on Portsdown-hill, were over a series of years, especially useless, and a waste of public now that the powers of artillery money, inasmuch as it had been and of iron-cased ships had so stated that an enemy could, with much increased. Immediate steps out being touched by the forts, ought, in his opinion, to be taken approach near enough to Ports. to render England superior to mouth harbour to bombard the France, in the number of irondockyards, and he moved to re- clad ships, as on our superiority duce the vote for those forts from at sea our existence as an inde110,0001. to 40,0001.
pendent Power depended. For The amendment was supported the repair of these iron ships new by Sir F. Smith.
and more extensive docks and Sir G. Lewis, in replying to basins ought to be provided. At Mr. Monsell, observed that, as- present we were in this position suming that Portsmouth would we had lost the protection of be attacked only by sea, the forts our forts without having the loss would be superfluous; but the compensated by a powerful ironquestion was whether Portsmouth clad fleet. In case of a war with was not liable to an attack by France, England would stand land, and it was to defend it from alone. France had an ample a land attack that the forts were army, which could be used for intended.
invading this country, while we Upon a division the amend. had only 43,000 regular troops, ment was rejected by 132 to 50. and about 200,000 irregulars to
After the rejection of some defend ourselves. Such was not other amendments, the Bill passed the position we ought to occupy, through the House of Commons, and the Government were much but with an emphatic protest by to blame for their expenditure of Mr. B. Osborne, against the lavish money in unimportant inatters, expenditure of public money upon and for their parsimony whenever the fortifications.
the object sought to be attained The second reading of this was the efficient protection of the important measure was moved in nation. the House of Lords on the 25th The Duke of Somerset defended July, by Lord de Grey and Ripon, the economy of the Admiralty, who, in a short speech, explained both in regard to iron ships and that the object was to raise the payment of the navy. He