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Sir William Harcourt declared that the full discussion of the solemn and serious question of the treaty obligations of England touching the Eastern Question was not to be silenced or prevented by the sneers or votes of a Conservative majority, and sternly rebuked Mr. Chaplin for an exhibition which he hoped might never be repeated again.

It was not, however, till after the Easter recess, when the face of things had been altered by the Russian declaration of war, which happened in April, that any serious debate upon the Eastern Question took place. The present debate was adjourned, and both parties agreed not to resume it. Mr. Hardy's declarations had for the time allayed the general anxiety; and the “policy of watching” which the Opposition adopted, led to nothing beyond a few more personal skirmishes; the Ministerialists failing in one or two attempts to bring on a direct division to show the numerical weakness of their opponents, and the Liberals bringing some discredit upon their party by a series of indirect assaults. Still attacking the Government, they still failed in indicating what they wanted them to do. When, a few days after his retort on Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Gladstone again appeared in the lists, this time in correspondence with Sir Henry Elliot, he was his own best evidence how difficult it had become to arrive at any other understanding upon this point. He indignantly vindicated himself against the interpretation which had been put on his “bag and baggage declaration, that it meant turning the Turks out of Europe, and when Sir Henry answered that its more limited interpretation, that all the civil, military, and police authorities should leave the country, was viewed with almost equal distrust at the Porte, he replied with great heat that his only object had in fact been the cessation of the Turkish executive power in Bulgaria, and added, “I am far from supposing that the change which I proposed would have been acceptable to the Porte, any more than were the proposals of the Conference; but in my judgment the man who at this juncture preaches smooth things to Turkey is her worst foe, and the man who tells her un palatable truths in very plain language is her best friend." This description might almost literally have been applied to Lord Salisbury. Between armed interference in the Christian Provinces, and the policy of the Government, there was clearly no middle cause, and Mr. Gladstone had not followers enough in the House to make the former possible. Lord Hartington declared that the policy of the party must be “ critical, not creative," and he declined to back Mr. Fawcett when he tried under cover of a motion to introduce a practical vote of censure, producing a heated debate, in which some speaker censured Mr. Fawcett for moving—some his leader for holding back-others the Government, for demanding a division. attack upon Sir Henry Elliot brought on another debate; in which violent language was used on both sides ; the Government defending their envoy chivalrously enough against the practical

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[27 charge of having led Turkey to count upon the support of England, but personality was too much the order of the day in all the debates rising out of the vexed question, on which it is however probable that the Opposition leaders would have succeeded in maintaining till the end of the Session, the reserve which now characterised it until Easter, had not their hand been forced by

: Mr. Gladstone.

In one or two minor matters, even at that early period, the absence of the Preinier's light hand at the helm might have been detected in the House of Commons, where partial disaffections took place in the ruling party, though their majority remained intact upon important questions, and in divisions upon foreign affairs was increased. The first division list upon the question of legalizing Colonial marriages in this country showed a majority against the Government. Sir John Lubbock, in asking for leave to bring in a bill for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments, surprised both sides of the House by obtaining another majority, and when one of Sir Stafford's own supporters (Mr. R. Yorke) moved for a Commission to enquire into the practice of the Stock Exchange, which has hitherto considered itself above parliament or even Royal Commissions, Mr. Stanhope, one of the ablest of the younger supporters of the Government, was at first induced to deliver an effective speech against the motion; but, amid some laughter, the Leader had to concede it without a division. Mr. Cotton used a novel expedient to secure votes against the proposal by suggesting that all who had made money in the Stock Exchange should go with him into one lobby, leaving the losers to support the mover. The Government similarly surprised the House by accepting the Irish Sunday Closing Bill, against their first impression, in deference to a majority of last session; but acquiesced without difficulty in its failure at a later period, when, though a select committee had reported in favour of its extension to large towns, and the member (Mr. R. Smyth), who had it in charge, apprehended no difficulties except from want of time, it was “talked out” for the Session by a dissentient minority of Irish members. A serious instance of mismanagement occurred with reference to a motion by Mr. Clare Read for the establishment of Elective County Boards. The usual Treasury Circular, announcing a division, was issued to the supporters of the Government, but Mr. Sclater Booth surprised the House by accepting the principle of the motion, and undertaking to introduce a bill to give it effect in a subsequent Session.

The Army and Navy Estimates were considered early in the Session; and Mr. Hardy's statement in introducing the former was generally reckoned as the beginning of the end of the long controversy on Army Reform, which has distracted the House and the country as well as the army itself. Colonel Mure, who two years ago attacked the new system, especially in respect of its effect on recruiting, and whose opinion represented so large and influential

a body, frankly withdrew his opposition as a whole to that system, which Lord Cardwell had inaugurated, and Mr. Hardy had adopted and applied with a wise disregard of party prejudice. He now expressed his approval of the scheme, and his regret at having spoken so strongly against it; and, with the exception of some objections from Sir Henry Havelock to the postponement till a later date of all discussion and explanations on the Promotion and Retirement Scheme, and to the value of our recruits, and of a protest from Dr. Lush about the grievances of the medical officers of the army-towards whom he charged Mr. Hardy with assuming an attitude of hostility—the Secretary at War met with but little adverse criticism in a small House where not fifty were present, and where the debate went on, as he said, “ so long and so tranquilly,” that there was no real opposition offered to the votes. The Estimates of the year provided for 131,720 men, being a net increase of 836, with a slight diminution in cost which seemed larger from a change in the form of keeping the accounts. The principal change introduced this year occurred in the artillery, in substituting batteries for brigades, as the more manageable units for relief purposes, and reducing the brigades in number. The Recruiting returns the War-Minister showed to be most favourable, no less than 29,350 having joined the Line and 38,437 the Militia during the year; and this increase (the largest since 1858, and larger than the number raised during the year of the Indian Mutiny—a result the credit of which Sir Walter Barttelot very fairly divided between Lord Cardwell and Mr. Hardy) had been growing gradually from the time the new terms were made known in June last until January, when the men came in at about 1,000 a week. The army was now 1,857 above the establishment—a circumstance, Mr. Hardy said, unprecedented. Mr. Hardy praised the quality of the recruits of the militia and the reserves, promising a year's respite from army maneuvres, and anticipated that the whole vote taken would be expended—it would not be exceeded. As to the militia, Mr. Hardy said he approved entirely the report of the recent Commission. But he was not satisfied with the system under which militia officers were passed into the army, and proposed that their commissions should be competed for by an examination in military subjects. There was an increase in the Volunteer Vote, but it was caused by an increase in the number of effectives. As to the medical officers, he expressed his intention to adhere to the unification scheme, which assimilates the regulation and arrangement in time of peace to that in time of war, although he had been much pressed to make a change in it before it had well come into operation. The health of the army at home and abroad was very good, he would not say in spite of the doctors, but in spite of this system to which they objected, and he thought it right to give it a fair trial. Giving a detailed account of our stores of great guns and rifles, Mr. Hardy dwelt for a few moments on the history of the 81-ton gun, which, he said, had succeeded beyond anticipation, and expressed a confident opinion that our army is an improving one. When Mr. Holms had moved to report progress, and been persuaded to withdraw his motion, and Mr. Parnell had made an early appearance in the character which he was to fill so conspicuously this Session by insisting on putting a similar question, the Votes for 131,720 men and 4,565,8001. were agreed to, as well as an excess vote of 50,000l. on account of the Army Purchase Commission.

Mr. Ward Hunt was not so successful with the Navy Estimates as his colleague, the shortcomings of the Admiralty being again this year the subject of angry criticism. The First Lord was anticipated by a resolution proposed by Mr. Seely, the Member for Lincolo, aiming at nothing short of his removal from control, whilst in form pointing to the propriety of creating a Secretary of State for the Admiralty, and also calling upon the House to consider “ the advantages of appointing to the offices of Controller of the navy and superintendents of Her Majesty's dockyards persons who possess practical knowledge of the duties they have to discharge, and of altering the rule which limits their tenure of office to a fixed term.” The proposal was not, of course, seriously entertertained (being defeated by a vote of 138 to 58), but it was discussed with vivacity. Mr. Seely contended that there was no personal or individual responsibility for bad work, waste of money, loss of time, or negligence, and commented on petty orders, divided authority, and which led to holes in water-tight compartments, and valves which stuck because they had not been moved for three years. He remarked on the freedom from accident of Cunard and P. and O. vessels, while in the navy of twenty-six ironclads eight had been disabled in six months, and deduced from this the conclusion that it was not steam that must be held responsible for such a contrast to the state of things existing some 60 or 70 years ago, when the word “collision” was not in our seamen's vocabulary. Mr. Seely gave minute details of the recent naval mishaps, and Mr. Reed seconded him in a speech strongly insisting upon the unsatisfactory condition of naval administration, the deficiency in naval education, and the absolute necessity for applying the simple remedy of placing some one man upon the Treasury Bench who should be responsible to the House when any great mishap occurred, and who should be asked to resign his post upon a succession of them.

Mr. Hunt made a spirited and successful defence, treating Mr. Seely's motion as a personal vote of want of confidence, and defended the present system on the authority of Sir James Graham, as in unison with the feelings of the service. He denied that any First Lord had ever shunned his responsibility, or that it would make any difference to call him a Secretary of State, said that he did not even know the politics of his First Sea Lord, explained the mishaps in detail, though some of his explanations created some laughter, described a visit to the German Dockyards, where, in the new navy of a people without prejudice, he had found naval superintendents, instructors, and engineers—the very system condemned at home,—and informed the House that he had taken measures to strengthen the engineering staff of the Admiralty. These measures he explained when he brought forward the estimates, in which he asked for the same number of men and boys as in the past year --60,000, including 14,000 marines.

The speech was retarded by what Mr. Goschen described as an “ annual dirge over the decline and decay of the British Navy," from Sir John Hay and Mr. Bentinck, and an interesting discussion raised by Mr. P. A. Taylor, by a resolution calling for more detailed returns in regard to crime and punishment in the Navy. It had been, he showed, the old system to make them, as it is now in the French Navy; and he especially insisted on the necessity for publicity in the case of such punishments as flogging. Mr. Hunt, however, declined to return to the old system, on the ground that it put such a pressure on commanders of ships, that some of them shrank from doing their duty; and when he had promised to look into some grievances of the warrant-officers, which Mr. Gorst had brought forward, and of which he admitted the value, he expressed his pleasure in being able to propose a reduction amounting to 309,0431. The estimates, he said, amount to 10,979,8291., the net estimated cost of the navy for the current year being 10,885,8921. Reviewing the work done during his three years' tenure of office, and spiritedly answering a charge made by Mr. Seely that the navy was no better than when first he took it in hand, the Fürst Lord stated that during that time 54 ships had been laid down (of which 4 were ironclads) of which 30 had been launched, 6 of them completed, as all would be in 1877–78. Of armoured ships had been built 37,000 tons, and of unarmoured 29,000, with 31 sets of new boilers, and new machinery to the extent of 92,000 horse-power: nor had the Admiralty failed to do what they could for the encouragement of training ships for the merchant service. Mr. Hunt then entered into particulars about individual ships, and hoped that the completion in the coming year of five vessels, of which he had himself commenced three, would be accepted as a partial set-off for defective boilers, which had been made a favourite ground of attack. Mr. Hunt said that he had done all he could, short of personal violence, to obtain their report on the subject of these boilers from the Committee which was sitting upon it; and meanwhile he was satisfied that their defects were exaggerated, though he would not disclose their exact condition. The “Inflexible” also would be ready for sea some time this year. As to the programme for shipbuilding in the Dockyards, as to which it had been complained that results did not correspond to promises, the First Lord confessed that he had failed at first, and was no better than his predecessors, but claimed that he had practically fulfilled his programme last year, and would again this, both in the Dockyards and by contract ; for in both the work done would

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