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DOMINION WISDOM AND THE NAVAL CRISIS.

(To the Editor.) Sir, —And so we are going to present His Majesty with another Dreadnought, and of course it is very clever and patriotic of us. Now, does it not seem strange in this nineteenth century, when the nations are all seemingly disposed to cultivate peace and are trying to devise ways and means to prevent war by the establishing of international courts of arbitration, etc., that some nations are arming on a scale that was never dreamed of in former times, and are piling up huge national debts and taxation that is something awful. The causes that underlie this state of things are the constant agitation of the military and naval authorities to increase the army and navy. Then we have the Press always looking out for some thmg sensational or alarming to dish up to their readers. So there is always a temptation for them to make much out of any alarmist rumours that may be going around, and gathering strength each time they are retailed. And now we also have tile stage taking up the alarmist business because they find it pays. I am somewhat surprised that a man so astute as Sir Joseph Ward should be bitten by the Jingo craze, and his Cabinet, composed largely of Scotchmen and Irishmen, who are usually not given that way. 1 think there is a still small voice to be heard among the people, the working classes especially, which is decidedly' against all this ecare-mongery, especially at Home in Scotland. I know they object to have their boys brought up as young Jingoes, whether they like it or not. They object to have them being paraded around with imitation guns, " acting the sodger." Now j why should there be such a dread of Germany attacking U3. The two reigning families are closely related, and on good terms. The Germans are not in the habit of attacking the sister nations without having a very good casus belli. There are, I suppose, a score of small or weak nations in Europe which, if Germany wished to attack, it would be simply a walk-over; and yet these weak nations are not trembling in their shoes for fear of Germany or any other nation attacking them. They have -more sense. The Germans are now kicking against the extravagant ways of the Kaiser involving them in huge national debts, and up to the neck in taxation. They won't vote the money. —I am,- etc., T. TORRENS.

[The money for the extended naval programme in Germany has already been voted.—Ed.] (To the Editor.! Sir,—l have read with considerable initerest the various opinions expressed "'per medium of your paper" by numerous of Auckland's leading citizens, but none have very cleverly expressed how the offer of one or two Dreadnoughts "by the Executive" affects Great Britain and the Dominion separately and individually. At first sight it would appear that the Dominion was simply making an offer of a Dreadnought or two, but upon calm reflection what does it mean? Simply this: the Dominion is making a present to Great Britain of two or more million pounds sterling. Firstly, the cost of the Dreadnought must first be borrowed in Great Britain; secondly, the major part of the material for construction is produced and prepared there, ready for commission. Consequently, the cost of material and construction are disbursed among various units of the community in the form of wages, etc., a proportion of which latterly finds its way back to the national Exchequer, the balance being retained in circulation ■within the British Isles, while the Dominion will be relieved of a corresponding amount, and with very little else to show for the expenditure but a patriotic Dreadnought or two, the offer of which at present there does not appear to be any immediate necessity, and at the present time the money would be more fruitful if epent judiciously in reproductive works throughout the Dominion.

Referring to the over-prompt action of the Executive, which is said to be principally composed of Scotchmen, it is, I believe, the almost universal opinion that in Scotland if a kScot errs on the question of £ s. d., it is usually on tie side of caution, and on a question of the present description, "not urgently pressing," it would have taken, at least a month to have arrived at a guarded line of action, tut the climate or surroundings in the Dominion must have a relaxative effect on the intellect, for there does not appear to be much other explainable reason for tbe Executive's undue 'hastiness. Then we have reference made to the late R. J. Seddon having established precedents, and possibly when Parliament meets we may have the Premier (Sir Joseph Ward) referring to past actions as precedents to justify the Executive's present action. But do the public consider it -wise to allow these precedents to continue and become established? It will be admitted that occasion 'has arisen, and may arise again when extreme secrecy and urgency may become necessary —say, in cases somewhat similar to the purchase of the Khedive's portion of the Suez Canal shares, or forestalling France in the acquisition of New Zealand, but in only such similar cases of secret urgency should it be permissible; otherwise, some day the citizens of the Dominion may find themselves committed in such a way that may create general displeaeure and lead to a great political upheaval. So now is the opportunity to take steps to put a stop to hasty and ill-seasoned precedents, or, perhaps, nistory may repeat itself to our confusion. In conclusion, the writer asks the public that after due consideration of the views openly expressed by a majority of the representatives of our local bodies and institutions, that for the present and future interests of the Dominion a change in the personnel would not prove beneficial. I am., etc.. J. WAITE, Eemuera.

[Surely no suet elaborate explanation as our correspondent offers was necessary to make people of ordinary intelligence understand that the offer of a Dreadnought involves 'borrowing the money in London and paying for the construction there. Assuming that the new warship will cost £2,000,000, borrowed at 3 per cent., the offer la simply equivalent to increasing our naval subsidy by a vote of £00,000 annually. As against thia, Great Britain will not only have to man !»nd maintain the Dreadnought at enormeua cost, but also undertake the construction smA maintenance of many mere. Prea.<Jnangb,ts to k«ep pace fche Gefaxaa nfegr&Tnnw, W&M provides far ft fleet of Iβ and pesmibly 17 of these vessel* wSTaln three year*,

(and ah expenditure of £207,000,000 upon j naval devolpirient within eight- years. Our offer of a Dreadnought towards the gigantic fleet which Great Britain must maintain, largely for the defence of the outlying parts of the Empire, in view of these figures, appears meagre instead of' erring on the side of generosity. As for the action of the Cabinet in taking the responsibility of this offer, no constitutional principle was infringed. The offer is subject to ratification by Parliament, and has no force without that endorsement. The Ministry staked its existence upon securing parliamentary sanction, either next session or after an appeal to the country. They were quite within their prerogatives in adopting this course, even though our correspondent and others may differ from their decision.—Ed.]

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DOMINION WISDOM AND THE NAVAL CRISIS. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

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