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THE PEOPLE'S ATTITUDE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909
THE PEOPLE'S ATTITUDE.
PRIME MINISTER AND SOME CRITICS. PARLIAMENT'S RATIFICATION NEEDED. (By Telegraph.—Special to "Star.") WELLINGTON, this day. The 'Prime Minister expressed great pleasure last night at the remarkable ' unanimity with which New Ze&landers of all classes had favoured the Governments' offer of a battleship. ; "1 have received hundreds of such communications from local public bodies, members of Parliament and representatives of various interests all heartily supporting what we have done," he said. RATIFICATION BY PARLIAMENT. "Yes, necessarily. What we have proposed will have to be ratified by Parliament," continued the Prime Minister. • "Aβ a mater of faot, it was the inten--1 tion of the Ministry, in submitting the proposal to the Home authorities, that • Parliament should be asked to ratify it, ' birt Ministers recognised that to be of value prompt action was essential. The Home authorities were informed that legislation would be required to give effect to the proposal, so that the idea ' suggested in one or two quarters th-at the Government had departed from the democratic attitude is not correct. "In a matter of this sort," the Prime Minister continued, "the iron ha-s to 'be struck while it is hot, and I am satisfied in my own mind that the public sentiment of the country is with the ' Government, and that, in turn, members of Parliament, as loyal citizens represenj tative of their views, will support our proposals. One or two interviews pub- ' lisJied in the Press are of different tenor, '■ and I feel sorry to see that anyone who 1 really thinks for himself, and attempts ■ to gauge th.c situation, should form the impression that in a case of this kind we should do nothing. They do not appear to recognise that it is of the first consequence to ourselves, our children, and their descendants, that no great calamity should befall our country through BUpineness and want of courage , to make the requisite sacrifice which will preserve the British flag. THE WORKERS' INTEREST. "It seems almost impossible to believe that even the humblest worker should not recognise the fact that one of the greatest glories of our country at present is its freedom, and the maintenance of a condition for the white race, superior probably to that of any other country in the world. The loss of prestige that would follow a defeat of the British navy in any part of the world would sound to us our death knell. Financial dislocation, depression, and disaster . would follow, and the high ruling rate of "wages which has for many years been so fine a side of the life of our country would inevitably fall, and would be on a parity with some of the Continental countries, where the wage-earners are on such a low scale as to practically make their life a permanent torment to them. It does not seem to be recognised by some of our critics that the stoppage of deliveries of our sea-borne produce would make it impossible to carry on our industries." CHEAP INSURANCE. Sir Joseph reminded his few critics of what he had already said in regard to the naval contribution feeing a form of insurance, cheap by comparison with what other countries had to pay. "Look at the condition of the German people," he continued. "They are taxed up to the eyes, taxed to an oppressive extent, while we, by our strong adhesion to the British navy, keeping clear of any attempt to have a separate navy of our own, are getting at the minimum of cost the most powerful organisation in the world to protect our interests." HOME DEFENCE. The interviewer suggested that it would be opportune to speak of Home defence, but the Prime Minister declined, on tJie ground Chat it was quite a separate question from the all-important one of sea supremacy. "I am not unmindful," he added, "of the vital importance of having an efficient, broad-based, and practical system of Home defence, but the present is not the time to elaborate it."
A FREE OFFER.
MADE WITHOUT CONDITIONS. (By Telegraph.—Press Association.) WELLINGTON, Tuesday. The London "Standard" cabled to the P/ime Minister asking for details of the Dominion's offer and the reason. Sir Joseph Ward replied: "You ask mc what our offer is, and why we made it. We offer the Motherland, without condition, the free gi/t, as soon as it can be built in British yards, of a first-class battleship. The type is left entirely to the Home authorities. Should later 1 events show any need for it, New Zea^ I land will offer again a second warshijT lof the same class. "The reason for our making such an offer is this: We, distant sons, desire to stand in any peril beside the lion mother of our race, and to the utmost of our resources prove to her and file world how I dear to us is Britain's name and great- | ness. We recognise that Britain's acknowledged supremacy of the sea goes for the maintenance of peace, and that any weakness either in the Homeland or abroad makes what ought to be a dominant position a dangerous one. "Sacrifices must be made to show competitive nations that though separated iby ieae, we are in reality one for the pre--1 lervation of our Empire's greataeu."
FEILDING COUNCIL APPROVES.
(By Telegraph.—Press Association.) . ...... FEILDING, .Tuesday. A special meeting of the Feilding Borough Council was held this afternoon to discuss the Government's offer ±o the British Government,- On the motion of Mr Atkinson, seconded by Mr J- G. Cobbe, the following resolution was carried unanimously: "That this Council strongly approves the action of the Government in offering to provide the cr.?t of a warship for the British Navy." The Council also, decided to call a public meeting to discuss the advisable* ness of introducing some form of compulsory military training into the Ecminion.
THE NAVY LEAGUE.
NAVAL TAX SUGGESTED. (By Telegraph.—Press Association.) CHRISTCHXJRCH, Tuesday. The committee of the Canterbury branch of the Navy League decided to express its hearty concurrence in the action of the Prime Minister in offering to supply one Dreadnought, or, if necessary, two, to the British Government. INVERCARGILL, Tuesday. Mr T. D. Pearce, president of the' Southland branch of the Navy League, views the Government's offer with favour, and advocates the institution of a "naval tax," so as to educate the people to a sense of their responsibilities. THE COST OF PEACE. PREPAREDNESS FOR WAR. (By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.) OAMARU, this day. The Oamaru "Mail," commenting on New Zealand's offer, says: "New Zealand has again made herself conspicuous in the eyes of the world as a British dependency. Her expeditious action at a time of critical necessity may be due to the vigour of her people. Reading of the Government'e latest startling performance naturally enough brings up reminiscences of the late Richard Seddon's action in sending troops to South Africa. There will be differences of opinion, both as to the character and the manner of its performance, but the great heart of the public is with the Government. There is no room for political jealousy or meanness of spirit when there is occasion to believe the Empire's safety may be in peril. Had Australia led the way, New Zealand would have had to follow. Tfie offer will exert an overwhelming moral force in the maintenance of the peace of the world, so indispensable to commercial and social prosperity. We "have' £gain proclaimed to the world that those who would attack Britain must be prepared to mset the hosts and all the resources of her robust and irrepressible progeny. That will make for peace, which it seems is still maintained at the cost of preparedness for war. WILL THE GIFT BE ACCEPTED. " • "TOO «REAT A SACRIFICE." (By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.) WELLINGTON, this day. When Cabinet announced its decision in regard to the offer of a battleship the opinion was held by many that the offer, although appreciated, would not be accepted. What appears to be a semiinspired article in the "Times" this morning states: "In view of Australia's attitude and the surrounding circumstances we should not be surprised if the Government were to receive an answer from the Imperial authorities saying that while they very much appreciate the spirit of loyalty which actuated the proposed gift, they could not see their way at present to accept the sacrifice such a gift -would entail." MR. MASSEY INTERVIEWED. Mr. W. F. Massey, the Leader of the Opposition, in the course of an interview, said he was an Imperialist, and considered that we should stand to the Empire to the last man and the last shilling. He agreed with the idea of offering moral support and practical assistance, realising that our existence depended on the supremacy of the navy, which supremacy was also a surety of the peace of the world. He contended, however, that Cabinet had ignored Parliament-, and usurped its rights. Consideration of proposals involving expenditure was a duty and a privilege belonging to Parliament, and the Cabinet's action had placed a considerable section of the community in a false position. If necessary Parliament should have been summoned and the proposal submitted, or at least the Premier could have done as the late Premier Seddon did on several occasions—circularised the members of Parliament by telegram. AUCKLAND SCHOOLS 'COMMITTEE. The offer of a battleship from New Zealand was referred to at last evening's meeting of the City Schools Committee, when the Chairman (Mr. P. M. Mackay) referred in appreciative terms to the action of the Government in the present naval crisis, stating that, in the name of the Committee, he had telegraphed to the Prime Minister as follows:—"City Schools Committee congratulate Prime Minister and his Cabinet on swift and effective expression of national feeling in connection with naval crisis." Mr. Bennett moved that the Chairman's action be endorsed, Mr. Pullen secondingMr. Gaudiin said that, at the same time, he thought that the money could be spent more profitably in the Dominion. Mr. Pullen: We will never miss it. The motion was carried unanimously. Mr. Mackay to-day re<?eived the. following wire from Sir Joseph Ward:— "Please convey to the members of the Auckland City Schools Committee my deep appreciation of their congratulatory message on the action of the Go- i vernment in offering a 'battleship to the Home authorities. I om pleased to say that it is meeting with general approval both inside and outside the Dominion." (Signed) J. G. Ward. In a congratulatory telegram to tne Premier on his recent action in connection with the offer on behalf of New Zealand of a battleship, as a contribution to the strength of the British navy in the present situation, Mr. Gerald- Peacocke expressed the opinion that "the right and Heedful thing had been done in the right and needful way." To-day, Sir Joseph Ward replied ac follows:— thanks. Much appreciate your mesage of congratulation. Am pleased to cay that telegrams expressing appreciation of the action of tne Government are coming to hand from r<ll quarter*."
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES. FRCXU EARLS RANffWLY AND ONSLOW. "AN EXCELLENT EFFECT." (By Telegraph.—Press Association.) WELLINGTON, this day. Among the congratulatory messages received by the Premier are the following:—From .Lord Onslow: "Your former Governor is proud of the lead taken in the Empire by the Dominion of New Zealand." From Lord Ranfurly: "Hearty congratulations on the magnificent offer of a warship. Effect excellent." BOX. F. TRASK'S CONVICTION. GERMAN PROFESSOR'S PREDICTIONS. The Hon. F. Trask, of Nelson, who is at present on a visit to Auckland, said, in conversation with a "Star" representative to-day, tha.t he heartily congratulated Sir Joseph Ward and the Ministry upon their prompt action in offering, on behalf of the Dominion, to provide one battleship, and a eecond one if necessary, to increase the strength of the British navy. He felt certain that the great majority of the people of the Dominion would approve of their action, which, judging from cabled news, had caused more stir in England and elsewhere than anybody could possibly have imagined. He really believed it was the intention 'of the Germans to make a warlike move against Great Britain if she did not keep up her armament. In support of this belief, Mr. Trask stated that some three years ago, at the time of the Boer War, a distinguished- German professor, whom he had taken for a drive in Nelson, said, in course of conversation, that he felt sure that Great Britain would be a third-rate Power ' before three or four yeare had elapeed. TELEGRAM! FROM THE PREMIER. The Right Hon. Sir Joseph. Ward iorwarded the following telegram to-day to the Chairman of the Auckland ' Stock Exchange:—"Please convey to Ith.e , members of the Auckland Stock Exchange my appreciation of their message of congratulation on the action of the Government. I am pleased to say that the offer is meeting with general approval throughout the Dominion." CONGRATULATION FROM HAMILTON. (By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.) HAMILTON", this day. The Mayor of Hamilton has telegraphed congratulations to the Premier on the decision of the Ministry to offer a battleship to the Imperial Government, expressing the that it is bound to meet with the almost unanimous approval of the people of the Dominion. METHODIST CHURCH. The Rev. J. Luxiord (Pitt-street Methodist Church), who was recently appointed by the' Church to" correspond with the Government on naval and military matters, forwarded the following wire to Sir Joseph Ward yesterday: —-"Congratulations. -In the interests of the weak, the oppressed, and the uncivilised, Great Britain must never lose her prestige." The Prime Minister replied as follows: —"Many thanks; appreciate your congratulations, arid glad, to say that the action of the Government is meeting with universal approval throughout the Dominion." BRITAIN'S KTJGE TASK. Mr Gerard Fiennes," the. well-known writer on naval subjects, more or less anticipated the present discussion in an article which he wrote in December. After pointing out that Britain could at present hold.Germany on the sea either in attack or defence, he continues:— "But we must scan the future. There can be no doubt as to what the effect of the coming of the Dreadnoughts has been. It has enabled every Power with naval ambitions and money to carry them ineo effect to start afresh on more or less even terms with us. It is absurd to cry out at our Admiralty, as some do, for having introduced the Dreadnought design. It was bound to come, and there was at least a hope that Germany might shrink from the heavy expenditure involved by the widening of the Kiel Canal, the deepening of her harbours, and so on. That she did not shrink is the true measure of the earnestness with which she is engaged in the pursuit of sea power. At any rate, we got a useful lead, thanks to the paralysis which at first overtook all the naval Powers. We must now look ahead and see what is to be done if that lead is to be maintained. "We are always being told that at some date in the end of 1911, or the beginning of 1912, Germany will possess 13 Dreadnought ships to our 12. This is not quite an accurate statement of the position. Germany will, in point of fact, assuming her programmes are completed with any approach to punctuality, have in commission in the spring of 1912 the armoured cruiser Blucher, 10 Dreadnoughts proper, and three Invincibles. We should have by the same time eight Dreadnoughts and four Invincibles (not counting the Lord Nelsons), plus the programme of next year, which will be completed by then. The armament of the German ships is still conjectural, but I will adopt the suggestion that the battleships will each mount twelve llin. guns, all of which will train on either broadside, and twelve 6in., while the cruisers will carry eight llin. guns. Then we shall get a table as fellows: —
Weight of broadside 81,6001b 114,3361b "I have included the German 6in. guns, which are really an anti-torpedo armament; but even were theae admitted, the weight of metal against us would be heavy. As it stands there are no less than 31,7361b to be made up in next year's programme, and that means, if we wish to maintain our superiority, that eight capital ships, Dreadnoughts and Invineibles, must be laid down at such a date that they will be at sea in the beginning of 1912. "Eight ships, then, are in fact the irreducible minimum of next yeair's programme, if we are to maintain the twoPower standard. And even with these, unless a proportion of them are superDreadnrr.irhts, carrying the newly-de-signed !"..">:n. (run (if that weapon fulfils expectations), our margin will be small, and we shall depend for absolute safety on our superiority in pre-Dnmd-nought ships. With tho two Lord Neleone and the eight King Edward Yll's we. may very .well do bo. "But ef one thing there mtwt be no doubt whatever, and that 1* of the necewlty for the
Admiralty to lay down 30 large armoured ships between this date and 1913." In that case, we shall have forty-two Dreadnoughts and Invincibles in commission in 1915, as against Germany's twenty-five. It is by working up to a standard of security in 1915 that the real intentions of the German Navy League and the powers behind it can ba foiled. "In 1915 the Anglo-Japanese Alliance comes to an end. and the chance of its being renewed is highly problematical. This is not the place to discuss that question at length, but no one who hae rightly understood the significance of the recent visit of the American fleet can have the slightest doubt that, in seven years' time, the vital interests of the Empire will ' require Great Britain to keep a fleet in the Pacific, probably based on Sydney, which sEall be strong enough to "keep its end up" against any attack until reinforced. The Germans have seen this, and their hope, of obtaining command of the sea is based on tha hypothesis that we shall be compelled to make a serious division of force in 1915. The Kaiser, it is true, whose nightly pillow is haunted by visions of the Yellow Peril, anticipates the day when Great Britain and Germany will be fighting side by side in the white man's cause; but it is, surely, significant that Germany's supreme effort is so planned that it will bear its full fruit in that year. What the demand on. our resources to provide an adequate fleet for the Pacific in 1915 may be cannot as yet be determined, but it is believed to be Japan's intention to work up to a standard of twenty-four battleships by that year, of which fourteen would presumably be Dreadnoughts. Among the others there would, of course, be some "ullage," but it does seem possible that we shall require to station at least ten. Dreadnoughts as well as the King Edwardsini'the Pacific. "Besides the German ships, we have to reckon with the growing strength of Austria-Hungary in the Mediterranean, and with the powerful ships now being built for Brazil, which may pass into the hands of some not too friendly Power. I am no alarmist. But the coolest and most level-headed estimation of the-chances of the future can, I think, lead to no other conclusion than that an average of six large armoured ships a year for five years from now is the minimum which the situation demands, and light cruisers and torpedo-craft in proportion. I have not taken into account the recent agitation of the German Navy League for six additional armoured cr-iisers, for it does not seem probable that it can be satisfied. The German yards could, no doubt, build the ship 3, but it is exceedingly doubtful whether German resources are equal to supplying the guns and gun-mounting&.-"Sea-power consists in the control of sea-communications. . .Between , Germany and alt lands of promise stands Great Britain. Whether she go tfie way of the Channel or North-about, so long as the Trident is in Britannia's hand it is by Britannia's leave alone she will go. But if Germany be compelled to challenge the "mightiest Power" for a wayleave over the "highway of the nations," she also finds in the "heritage of that Power the most desirable of all estates. And if once she gain for herself the command, of the highways, the Estate will fall to her in common remainder.
Britisb h. German. Dreadnoughts .. Invincibles Armament' — 12—llin 6in 8 4 122 0 .. 10 .. 3 .. 144 .. 120
THE PEOPLE'S ATTITUDE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909
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