Imatges de pÓgina

to war strength and ready at the shortest notice to go anywhere and do anything :


Armoured Cruisers


Great Britain



6 16

3/22 battleships, 6 armoured


45:4 per cent. in battleships
British superiority 183.3 per cent. in armoured cruisers

75 per cent. in all armoured ships

(France has, in addition, six battleships and three armoured cruisers with reduced crows in the Mediterranean. This force cannot be ent oly red. There are also six armoured cruisers forming the Northern Squadron, which cruises during part of the year.}

Outside European waters neither of these two Powers has a single battleship, and in every part of the world the British Fleet is maintained at more than a Two-Power standard. In the Far East, for instance, Germany has only one armoured cruiser and three small cruisers, and France one armoured cruiser and two small protected cruisers, whereas the British Fleet in China waters includes four armoured cruisers and two protected cruisers and a number of sloops, river gunboats, and destroyers, apart from nine cruisers on the Australian station and the four cruisers in the Indian Ocean. In every sea the British Fleet is maintained at a Two-Power standard in comparison with France and Germany. In the North Atlantic it is, of course, at a disadvantage in comparison with the navy of the United States, and in the Far East it compares disadvantageously with the massed naval forces of our ally Japan.

Judged by every test our naval position is such as not to warrant immediate alarm even in face of the new German Navy Bill, though there is every need for foresight and courage in shaping our naval policy. Let us avoid a panic,' which is undignified and grossly extravagant in its results. If the Government shows weakness, every elector can bring some influence to bear through his representative in the House of Commons. In the near future if the new German programme is carried out, as there is every reason to anticipate, the utmost vigilance will be necessary. Some years ago Lord Brassey, who was himself a Lord of the Admiralty, wrote very lucidly to the following effect :

It may not be superfluous to point out that the naval advisers of the Admiralty cannot by mere personal and official influence unsupported by a strong expression of opinion out of doors obtain the consent of Cabinets to important increases of expenditure. If the public is indifferent, the controlling power of the Treasury-always and properly exercised to enforce economywill make itself felt. The Treasury is not competent in matters naval. In the absence of a demand which must come from without, its rule is, as stated by Admiralty witnesses before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Navy Estimates, to take the expenditure of the preceding year as a basis for the expenditure for the next. The rule, it is obvious, rests on a more arbitrary assumption and not on any sure and guiding principle of naval administration.

The expenditure for the Navy cannot be a constant quality or be treated automatically. The measure of our necessities must be taken by first looking to the strength and expenditure of other Powers. It is our duty to keep our Fleet superior to that of any possible enemy, whether a single Power or two or more Powers combined. As Sir Arthur Hood told the Committee of the House of Commons, if other Powers lay down more ironclads, we must lay down vessels faster and more powerful. If they strengthen themselves in cruisers, we must maintain our superiority by a proportionate increase of construction.


The fleet is a weapon of national defence which must be moulded from year to year in accordance with the policy adopted by rivals and possible enemies. We cannot afford to lead in shipbuilding proposals because if we do other Powers will be at an advantage, and will be able to lay down larger or more powerful ships. We want to provide a Navy as cheaply as possible, and every penny spent above the necessary standard dictated by activity abroad is money wasted —and in these times of falling trade we cannot afford to waste our

At the same time the Treasury cannot be permitted, as it did some years ago, to deny the Admiralty the necessary funds. The necessity once proved, the money must be forthcoming.

For some years to come our Estimates will virtually be framed in Germany or in Germany and France, and all that the nation can do will be to pay the bill—the essential bill of national insurance. The taxpayers have a right to insist that the insurance premium shall not be calculated to cover a risk which there is no possibility that they will ever have to face. Fire insurance rates vary according to circumstances : there are parts of the City of London-Wood Street, for instance—where, owing to the character of the buildings and their mode of construction, the rates are extraordinarily heavy; and there are other localities where they are extremely light because the peril is less. In the past few years British policy has been directed very wisely towards removing our affairs and interests outside the

danger zone ' in which they were a few years ago, when we paid an extremely high rate of insurance.

We are so strong that we can afford to regard the situation without nervousness; there is no call for panic legislation. We have a fleet which is to-day, and, with the moderate provision for new construction in the coming financial year now announced, will remain in the future, up to the Two-Power standard, and that fleet has been raised to a higher state of efficiency than has ever before been reached in the history of modern times. There was never a period when our ships spent as much time at sea as now.

The essential and most admirable feature of the policy of the Board of Admiralty has been the attention which it has devoted to the ' brain of the Navy,' on which victory will depend. It

has given each of the three commanders-in-chief of the Channel, Home, and Atlantic Fleets increased staffs, so as to facilitate the work of war training by providing each senior admiral with adequate expert assistance; it has immensely strengthened the Naval Intelligence Department, which is the thinking machine of the naval administration; it has created a War College at Portsmouth under the control of a rearadmiral, where not only are possible wars fought out on principles endorsed by all naval opinion and the results communicated to the Intelligence Department, but periodically war courses are held at Portsmouth, Devonport, and Chatham for the benefit of senior officers, who go afloat if necessary, there to study, on blue water, problems arising during the war games. Not only have these reforms been introduced, but the fleets have been re-organised so as to coincide with the political circumstances of the times. Naval power consists in forces massed and employed in skilful combination. The main British Fleet to-day includes fourteen battleships and six armoured cruisers, besides six protected cruisers, twenty-four destroyers, and three auxiliary vessels for repairs, stores, &c. In no navy in the world is there a command of such dominating power.

Tried by every test, the Navy has made notable progress, in administration, in organisation, and in efficiency-not excluding gunnery—and we can face the future without uneasiness. In the coming financial year no heroic measures are necessary. The Government is committed to a programme of cruisers and torpedo craft to take the places of vessels which are worn out, and beyond these only moderate provision, such as the Admiralty has provided, is necessary, so as to secure our position in large armoured ships in face of foreign activity. Next spring the outlook will be clearer, and then, when foreign proposals have taken more definite form, a large programme of shipbuilding will probably be urgently required. The measure of our naval necessities must be the activity of rivals.


P.S.-Since the British naval expenditure touched high water mark in 1904–5, when (including the sum spent on naval works) the cost of the Fleet was 39,628,0181., the savings effected by Admiralty reforms and by the delays abroad caused by the dramatic appearance of the Dreadnought and the three Dreadnought cruisers in 1905, have been as follows:

Year 1905-6 1906-7 1907-8 1908-9

Total Expenditure

Saving compared with 1904-5


Total saving £26,960,969

Since these economies have been effected with an addition of naval strength owing to improved organisation and administration and the Fleet remains, in matériel and personnel, above a Two-Power standard, there is every reason for satisfaction, though in details the new estimates reveal the result of Treasury interference.

A. S. H.

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SEEING that resolutions in favour of the nationalisation of all British railways have been passed by various Labour and Socialistic bodies and by the Conference of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, it


be of interest to consider what would be some of the results if the proposed change were accomplished. Leaving the question of the feasibility of the scheme, and the immediate monetary cost to the country to be dealt with by financial experts, we may proceed to view the probable effects of the change under the following heads, so far as it concerns (a) Parliament; (b) the Railway Servants ; and (c) the public as a travelling and trading community. Before proceeding further the author may say that, having been engaged for some years on the Cape Government railways, he has had some experience of a State-managed railway.

(a) Concerning Parliamentary Affairs.-As the combined railways of the country would form one of the greatest spending and earning Government departments in the world, it is obvious that the head of that department would have to be a Cabinet Minister, with a seat in the House of Commons, and answerable to the House for all the details of the business over which he presided. He would at all times be liable to be questioned on any and every trivial matter connected with the railways, and if he failed to satisfy his inquirer, the latter could move the adjournment of the House to discuss the matter, provided he received the support of forty other members. With a House constituted like the present one there would be little difficulty in obtaining the requisite support, particularly on a question concerning labour or wages. It must be borne in mind that the scope for questions on railway management is practically unlimited, and may range from the cause of a serious accident to the dismissal of a lad, or the stopping of a train at some wayside station. The author can remember a case at the Cape when the Minister for Crown Lands and Public Works was questioned about the overcrowding of a compartment in which his interrogator had travelled to Cape Town. In another case a member asked the Minister why he had not been


VOL. LXIII-No. 373


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