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them fit for sea earlier than if they were to be built of iron. We should then have 12 of these vessels to 15 of the French. This must not imply that it was not intended to build other vessels of iron; but before this was done it would be prudent to ascertain by experiment, as well as inquiry, the best mode of construction.



course of construction. In addition to this, it had been decided to plate some of our wooden ships with iron, although he did not think they would be very efficient, for it was his opinion that we ought to construct our ships entirely of iron. None, however, of the armour yet tried could resist the tremendous power of the Armstrong guns, and in consequence the Admiralty had ordered, as it proved that ships could not be made as secure as could be desired, that our ships should have the best means of offence, and be armed with the Armstrong guns. The noble Duke then proceeded to repel the charge of vacillation and change brought against the Admiralty. With regard to these different experiments, the noble lord says the Admiralty have always been changing their policy. Why, my lords, the reason is obvious. The world is changing; alterations are going on everywhere. So far from the Admiralty vacillating, from the time we came into office we have gone on in the course which I believe your lordships will say was the right and proper course for us to adopt under the circumstances. My noble friend the other day said we were going on building three-deckers and laying down ships of war; but what is the fact? The last threedecker ordered to be built was in The Duke of Somerset, in a January, 1855. It is quite true very interesting speech, detailed that two three-deckers the course which the Admiralty launched in the course of 1859; had pursued in constructing iron- but these three-deckers had been cased ships of war. They had nearly finished for a long time; not rashly committed themselves their engines and everything had to new inventions, but had pro- been ordered; it was, therefore, ceeded experimentally, and had thought better that they should now seven of these vessels in' be launched, and thus make room

A short time afterwards, Lord Carnarvon called the attention of the House of Lords to the statement of Sir J. Pakington, that not only was France vastly superior to this country in the number of iron-cased vessels of war, but that the French dockyards were at the present moment constructing similar vessels for Spain and Italy. The acquisition of a navy by Spain or Italy was of small importance in itself, but if a sup. posed combination of the naval forces of those two nations with France was admitted, it was full of danger to our naval position in the Mediterranean. In case of such a combination against England a naval battle would, probably, occur in that sea, where, in consequence of bad management at Malta, we had not an effective dock to refit a damaged fleet. He did not blame Her Majesty's Government for this, for he thought the evils were due to the incessant changes which characterized the naval administration of the country.


for other work to be gone on with. Well, then, it was said, why do we go on with twodeckers? Now, we have not been going on with two-deckers. The last two-decker ordered was by the late Government in 1859. The present Board have ordered none. But it is said the Admiralty is going on ordering new large wooden ships. Nothing of the kind. It is quite true we have ordered small vessels, corvettes, sloops, and some frigates and gun-vessels; but if you mean to keep up the maritime power of this country we have not yet arrived at that forward state in which we can leave off building. We have been building what we thought would be most useful, and we have ordered them all to be armed with the new guns; and, instead of carrying the large number of guns they formerly used to do, our vessels will carry few guns, but guns of great power. The noble earl referred to our gunboats, which he said were rotting in harbour; but, if these were armed with a 100-pounder they would be most formidable vessels, and would serve most materially to defend our coasts in case of hostile aggression; while, being themselves small, they would present a very slight object of attack for the enemy. With regard to what we ought to do in the way of preparation, there are two or three courses that might be adopted. If there was any immediate necessity for alarm, we could readily cut down some of the three-deckers and case them in iron. I have had calculations made, and I find if you were to cut down, say the Royal Albert, and case the vessel

in iron, it might bear four and a half-inch iron; but it would not then be a very effective shipthe ports would be too near the water, and it would not be so good a sea-going ship as I should wish the Admiralty to build, unless there was any pressure; for next year we ought to build a far better ship. Another course might to some extent be adopted. We have frames cut out for certain line-of-battle ships. We can easily add to the length of vessels and make effective wooden ships, which we can use hereafter as wooden frigates or as iron-cased ships. Another course would be, to order frames of iron ships to be prepared with a view to case them with thick iron. Then comes the question, of what iron they ought to be constructed, and the best mode of fastening the iron plates. Every day new questions arise. I am unwilling to advance too fast, because I feel that we can advance much more efficiently by waiting a little longer. It is only a few days since the last of these experiments took place with eightinch plates. I am very anxious to do all in my power, and I have ordered six-inch plates. I have great doubt whether the mode of fastening the plates is satisfactory. On that account, therefore, I thought a trial should be made before we laid down the scale; and that done, we felt we might rely on the power we have in building iron vessels if the country once takes it in hand. We know what the private yards in this country can do. We could soon produce a fleet of iron ships far greater than all the other Powers of Europe besides. It is true, as the noble earl, has

stated, that France is not the only country which is building wooden ships to be covered with iron. There are some being built for Russia. I do not know where the contracts were taken, but contracts are in course of execution for Russia and also for Spain. One wooden ship covered with iron has likewise been built for Sardinia. The French ships are for the most part wooden ships covered with iron. I believe the best ships will be found to be those which are built of, as well as covered with, iron. Ours are iron ships with two coverings-one of teak 26 inches thick and one of iron four and a half inches thick. That is how the Warrior is built, and I have no doubt it will offer great resist ance to shot and shell."

Earl Grey said he had heard the statement with great satisfaction. Far from blaming the Admiralty for being too fast, he thought they were too slow. He believed the course now pursued to be the proper one-not to hurry on too rapidly with new inventions, until they had been fairly tried, but, on the other hand, when there were new inventions which held out every prospect of being successful, not to continue spending large sums of money in building vessels which in all probability would be useless; to make arrangements for the rapid creation, in case of necessity, of a large force of that de, scription of vessels which would be most wanted and most serviceable, but not, under the influence of panic, to proceed too fast in the construction of ships which would not be likely

to answer.

Upon the supplemental Esti

mate of two millions and a half for the construction of iron-cased ships coming under discussion in the House of Commons on the 26th of July, Mr. Lindsay energetically remonstrated against the outlay for that purpose. In answer to his objections,

Lord Palmerston stated that he had distinct and positive information, upon which he could rely, that the French had six iron vessels afloat, 10 building, which could be completed in a year and a half or two years, and 11 floating batteries, some of them powerful vessels, making an aggregate of 27 iron-clad ships.

Lord C. Paget stated the names and localities of the vessels, and added that other nations were increasing their iron navies in a corresponding ratio, Austria, Italy, and Spain having eight of these vessels built or building.

Mr. Lindsay said, after these statements, differing so greatly from information he had received from the highest authority in France, he should offer no opposition to the vote.

A statement of some importance was made by Lord Palmerston, just before the end of the session, with respect to the relative naval strength of France and England. It arose upon the third reading of a Bill proposed by the Government, and finally passed into a law, authorizing the employment of officers belonging to the merchant service, as officers of reserve in the Royal Navy, in case of emergency.

In remarking upon this Bill, which he did in terms of general approval, Mr. Lindsay inquired of the Ministers whether it would not be practicable to


come to some arrangement with the French Government with respect to the proportionate force to be maintained on either side? In answer to this question Lord Palmerston stated, that all increased preparations in our dockyards had been subsequent to, and in consequence of, increased preparations in the French dockyards, and that the reverse could not possibly be said to have been the case. Now, as to the other question-one of great importance-whether the British Government could not enter into communication with any foreign Government-for it must not be confined to France, but with any foreign Government-with a view to impose a limit upon the respective naval forces of the two countries, that is a more important question, of great difficulty, and open to much criticisın. Although at the first blush it appears to be a practicable thing, I think that any British Government would long pause and hesitate before it entered into any agreement with foreign countries for limiting the amount of force, naval or military, which this country ought to maintain. We should judge of that amount according to the circumstances of the moment. Any agreement must be with several foreign Powers, because it is not France alone that is a naval Power. There is Russia, the United States, Spain (which is growing in importance), and other States which have navies, and therefore any limitation of our own force must be made with a view not only to the naval power of France, but to any possible combination of other Powers. Such an arrangement

would, I think, lead to interminable doubts and disputes. We must have officers watching them, and they must have officers watching us; there would be doubts and suspicions of bad faith; and, instead of laying the foundations of peace, we should, I fear, be sowing the seeds of future interminable dissensions."

This statement was received with much approbation by the House.

The Army Estimates were moved by Mr. T. G. Baring, Under Secretary of State for War, on the 14th of March. The honourable member stated that the number of men proposed for the current year was 146,044, exclusive of the force in the East Indies, which would raise the aggregate number to 212,773. The sum to be voted was 14,606,751l., which was less than the estimates of 1860-1 by 185,7957. This was, however, he afterwards explained, less than the real decrease. Having discussed various details connected with the numbers, he proceeded to consider the items of expendi ture, explaining the mode in which reductions had been made, and replying to the objection of General Peel, that the estimated sum would prove insufcient. He noticed the improvements which had been effected in re-enlistments, food, and clothing. The health of the Army during the past year had been extremely good; the mortality. abroad had been below the average. He went over the votes for the medical staff and administrative departments of the regular Army, and the vote for the Volunteers, reserving details upon

this last head for the discussion of the wants of this force, to which Lord Elcho had proposed to call the attention of the House. He reviewed the estimates relating to the matériel of the Army, and gave details of much interest on the subject of the Armstrong guns. The number of these for which provision had been made in the estimates was 1057, of the following calibre, viz.-330 100pounders, 280 40-pounders, and 250 12-pounders. All the reports which had been received bore testimony to the superiority of these guns in every respect, durability and strength included. The warlike stores had been increased, and put on an efficient footing. There was a diminution of 44,500l. in the charge for civil buildings and barracks. With regard to the non-effective services, it was arranged that the Indian revenue should contribute 20,000l. a-year towards the expense, but in other respects there was little or no difference in the votes for the present year beyond the ordinary increase from natural causes, which amounted to 27,6401. The total of real decrease in the estimates of the year was 295,7951.

A desultory debate followed this statement. Several members complained of the great amount of the estimates, others criticised particular details, as the management of the Government factories, the state of the barracks, the payments for food, lighting, and other charges. Mr. W. Williams and Colonel Dickson particularly remonstrated against what they considered the enormous amount of the estimates. Mr. Henley stated that, since 1853, the increase in the

number of men had been 21 or 22 per cent., and that in the amount of charge 60 per cent. in every branch of the service. General Peel, in the course of some critical remarks on the estimates, stated that the number of men voted would, by the addition of two ciphers, always give very nearly the amount of the expenditure. He added, that he did not think the number of men proposed by the Government excessive.

Lord Palmerston vindicated the calculations and requirements of the Government. It was admitted, he said, that the number of men was not too large, and all knew that the armament was expensive. "Now, if hon. members look at these estimates, they will find that a great portion of the increase arises, first, from the addition to the number of men ; and, secondly, from the change of the implements of war. But, besides that, hon. gentlemen ought to bear in mind that certainly no session passes, and not many months in any session pass, without members proposing good, but at the same time expensive, changes in all the arrangements connected with the army. One member presses upon the House the necessity of improving the barrack accommodation for the soldiers; another says the clothing is defective in quality and ought to be improved; while a third states that the hospital accommodation is not what it should be, and that various other changes ought to be made to render the condition of the soldiers more suited to the improved temper and habits of the times. All these alterations, good though they may

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