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STRENGTHENING THE NAVY., Issue 10421, 16 September 1897
STRENGTHENING THE NAVY.
At Melbourne, on the Ist inst., Lord Brassey delivered a lecture on the ' Position of the British Navy in 1897,' speaking as follows: THE EXPENDITURE ON THE NAVY. As an old financial officer of the Admiralty it is natural to look to the expenditure of the several Powers as the measure of their streDgthJ and the clearest indication of their policy. The British Navy Estimates for 1895-96 amounted to £19,861,000. The expenditure increased to £22,336,000 in 1896-97. It will be maintained at practically the same hi»h figure through the current financial year. Let us compare our figures with those of foreign Powers. For 1897 the total appropriations in the French amount to £10,650,000, and in the Russian navy estimates to £6,239,000. The expenditure on the British Navy exceeds that of France and Russia combined by nearly five and a half millions sterling. With capable administration the large sums provided by the liberality of the British Parliament should certainly be accepted as sufficient. The policy of Great Britain as declared in the Navy Estimates is correctly described by the Intelligence Office of the United States Navy in the words that " We are earnest in our intention to maintain the command of the seas." During the lost thirteen years ship building for the British Navy has been pushed on with a vigor and abundance of resource which it has not been possible to rival elsewhere. Our total expenditure during the period 1885-IS9S aggregates in round figures for new construction no less than sixty and a-half millions sterling, as against thirty-one and a-half millions for France. MANNINC; OK THE NAVY. Having given the total expenditure, let us see how we stand in relative resources for the manning of the navy. The Estimates for the present year provide for 100,050 men, as against 44,225 of permanent men in the French and 32,477 in the Russian service. In the last five years Great Britain has added 26,000 men to the permanent service of the navy. Behind our permanent force we have a Royal NavalJ Reserve of 25,000 men and 10,000 able-bodied pensioners. It is estimated that France could in two days bring in 33,000 men from her reserve, numbering 120,000 men, all of whom have served three years in the navy. Not being called out after their period of service has been completed, they must gradually lose their efficiency for the manning of the fleet in a period of rapid change in ships and armaments. The French list of men liable to service includes men who have not been to sea for twenty or thirty years. It has been asserted by outside critics, and notably by Sir Charles Dilke, that we are not increasing the men in proportion to the ships. That charge was met by Mr Goschen in an exhaustive speech, delivered on the sth of March last. Arguing the case on behalf of the Admiralty, " the test," he said, " as to the sufficiency of the seamen is thiß : Can we man our ships as fast as they are ready ?" On this point he gave a confident assurance to the House of Commons. The Admiralty were well prepared for manning every ship which would be sent to sea on the outbreak of a war. They did not aim at maintaining a permanent force sufficient to man every ship in the navy. As they had a reserve of men, so the older types formed a reserve of ships, for which crews could be raised, as the exigencies of the situation required, The Admiralty on their own responsibility have declined, and, as I venture to say, rightly declined, to raise more seamen than can bo properly trained and advantageously employed. To go beyond what is necessary for the permanent force of the navy would be a waste of public resources. SHIPS. Turning from the men to the ships, the standard laid down by the Admiralty has been equality to the fleets of any two foreign Powers. Taking France and Russia as the two strongest naval Powers after Great Britain, the actual position is summarised in the following statement:
On a general review the position of Great Britain is certainly not unsatisfactory. The power of the navy essentially depends on its battleships. In this all-important class we have a decided advantage. No foreign Power possesses ships equal in fight- ' ing power to our seven Royal Sovereigns or our nine Majesties, nor can any type of battleship be said to be more effective than our own improved Centurions, of which no fewer than eight are building.
PROGRESS IN NEW CONSTRUCTION. The tabular statements show the present strength of fleets. The rate of progress may be measured with a close approach to accuracy by comparing the amounts voted for shipbuilding under the Estimates of the different Powers. The expenditure for the British Navy, as provided in the Estimates for 1897-93, was £7,200,000, to which a supplemeutary sum of £500,000 has since been added. In the present financial year it is proposed to lay down four battleships, three third class cruisers, two sloops, four gunboats, and two torpedo boat destroyers. Including new orders, there will be in construction in 1597-98 the following ships : HATTLF.SHIPS. Majestic class, estimates 1894-95 ... . r, Canopus class, estimates lS9b'-97 ... "' 5 New class of first class battleships, estimates 1897-98 .. 4 - 14 FIRST CLASS CRUISER*. Diadem class, estimates 1895-96 ... , i Diadem class, estimates 1896-97 ... ..'. 4 - 8 SECOND CLASS CRUISERS. Talbot class, estimates 1894-95 . o Arrogant class, estimates 1895-96 " J ■'if'albot class (11 (Jin Q.F.), estimates IS9G-97 3 - 9 .THIRD CLASS CRUISERS. Pelorus class, estimates 1895-96 ] Pelorus class, estimates 1896-97 '" i; Pelorus class, estimates 1897-9S ... '" :i " - 10 MISCELLANEOCs. Sloops, estimates 1897-98 o Tvvin-screwstern-wheel gunboats, estimates I&S7-9S 4 Light-draught river gunboats, estimates 1897-98 .. s Royal yacht, estimates 1897 98 ... " l - 15 TORPEDO BOAT DESTROYERS. 26-27 knots, estimates 1894-96 ... .13 i isO knots, estimates 1595-96 16 30 knots, estimates 1596-97 25 32-33 knots, estimates 1596-97 ... .'" :? No information, estimates 1597-9S ... 2 - 5' Total number of vessels of all clauses undei construction or projected during financial year 1897-9S ... ... ... 108 To be completed during the year, including 50 torpedo destroyers... ... ...66 Uncompleted at end of year, of which 25 will be battleships and cruisers 42 ' - 10S For the French navy the total expenditure on .construction for 1897, as originally proposed, vaa £2,902,750. Since the ordinary submitted the Governmentjhave submitted for the p,pproval|of Parliament'an" additional programme of construction, involving an expenditure pf £3,200,000, spread over eight years. Of this affiount it is proposed to expend in 1897 £340,000. The full laying-down programme for the year will be : Battleships.-One fiist .obss and one second class.
Cruisers.-One hrst class cruiser of 11,270 tons ; four of smaller dimensions; three third class. Eight torpedo boats of the Destroyer type. In Russia the vote for new construction for the nary has been reduced in the latest estimates from £2,033,353 to £1,679 508. At Nicolaieff, in the Black Ssa, a second class battleship, a sister ship to the Rotislay and Sissoi Velikie, of 8,800 tons displacement.
haa been laid down. Two first class battleships, of 12,480 tons, are to be commenced, one to be ready for launching in 1898 and the second in 1900. In the Baltic yards the first class battleships Poltava, Sevastopol, aud Potropawlowsk, and the coast defence ship General Admiral Apraxin, are being complete.) for their trials ; while the first class battleships Pereaviet and Osliaba, and a new first class cruiser of the Rossia type are nearly ready for launching. It is proposed to lay down three first class cruisers and two torpedo boat destroyers.
The aggregate expenditure of France and Russia on new construction for the current year is £5,211,000, as against £7,700,000 taken for the same services for the British Navy. The expenditure on new construction for the French navy in the last five years haa been as follows : 1894-95, £3,049,721; 1895-96, £3,033,000: 1896-97, £3,111,640; 1897-98, £2,902,758. In the same period our expenditure on construction has exceeded that of France in the five years by some £11,000,000 sterling. The margin in excess seems ample, and it may be confidently assumed that we get the best value for any given outlay. While careful to maintain the strength of the navy adequately in every arm, the prudent administrator will not carry expenditure beyond what is necessary in the circumstances of the time. Who shall with confidence anticipate the developments of the future ? That inner line of destroyers at.Spithead had an ominous look. How would it fare with the first class battleships if assailed at the same moment, and with dauntless courage, by ten or by twenty destroyers ? Is it certain that, in an attack by day, not one of the puny assailants would strike home ? And what would be the probable issue of an attack under the cover of fog or darkness ? These are considerations which cannot be put out of view in framing a programme of construction. They are, indeed, a fatal objection to any programme extending too far into the future. It seems enough if we keep ourselves thoroughly up to date. I would not join any crusade in the Admiralty which pressed for more than that.
Let u? turn to the navies on the seaboard of the Pacific, in which we in Australasia are specially interested. In Japan a building programme is under consideration which —if carried out—will lift that eountry to a high place among naval Powers. It is proposed te complete by the year 1902 54 ships of a total displacement of 45,890 tons, and by 1906 to construct a further 69,895 tons, distributed in 63 vessels. In the first series are included 1 battleship of 14,900 tons, 2 first class cruisers, 3 second class cruisers', 1 torpedo gunboat, S destroyers, 5 first class, 20 second class, and 6 third class torpedo boats. In [the second series are included 3 battleships, 2 first class, 2 third class cruisers, 2 torpedo gunboats, 1 torpedo depot ship, 3 destroyers, 18 first, 3 second, and 29 third class torpedo boats. Such is the programme. It is ambitious. Possibly it may not be carried to completion. Programmes are seleom completed. It is not probable that the naval aspirations of Japan will affect the balance of power in the Far Kast in a sense unfavorable to British interests.
China has uot yet awakened from her defeat. A programme of shipbuilding is, however, under consideration. Two protected cruisers are building at Elswick, each of 4,500 tons displacement. Three cruisers have been ordered at the Vulcan Yard at Stettin. Four large destroyers have been ordered from Herr Schichau, in Germany A cruiser of 1,800 tons is completing at Foo Chow.
While largely adding to the men and ships, we are making great efforts to improve and fortify our dockyards and strong places at home and abroad. The expenditure for these services in 1897-98 will be no less than £2,000,000. Two new graving clocks have recently been completed at Portsmouth ; three are in hand at Gibraltar ; Devonport has been equipped for building as well as fitting out the largest ships. At Gibraltar, Portland, and Dover extensive moles are being constructed, enclosing anchorages of sufficient extent to enable large fleets to lie secure from torpedo-boat attack. In addition, a sum of £1,120,000 is taken in the Army Estimates for defensive works at Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Cork. Four great strategic harbors are to be constructed at Falmouth Lough Swilly, Berehaven, and the Scilly Islands. The defences of Gibraltar, Cape I own, Hongkong, and Singapore are to be completed. ( To he continued.) THE NEW GUINEA MURDER. ♦ _ The representative of the German New Guinea Company, of which Von Hugen was the Director-General, has received details of the fetter's murder. It was committed by a New Ireland trooper engaged by the German authorities on August 25. The same trooper had previously made himself notorious by murdering Herr Elher (a distinguished explorer and personal friend of the German Emperor) and his lieutenant, in whose bodyguard the trooper was included upon an exploring expedition in the interior of Is ew Guinea. The trooper was arrested for the murder of Elher, but escaped, and while he was being pursued he shot Hugen.
( B .;:-■ :>t ritain. France. lt\ issia. Battleships- £ 7. ~ 7j S Firt't class ... 3S 490,1100 19 215,000 1:1 135,000 Second class 7 Third class... 21 09,0'JO 107,47(1 9 70,303 7 9 03,344 .-, 5S.1SS 2S.705 First class ... :!0 257,950 14 95,500 (1 75,784 Secoud and third class 75 2S0.7N5 20 71,504 4 14,828 Armored — Coast defence 11 (J5.3S0 lj 5ti,29S 15 44,970 Look-out ,/hips ... 10 :i(!,240 12 19,005 0 — boats * ... 34 2.S.5K7 1G 9,274 s 3,911 TOKPEDO i'.O.VT 1I.OTILLAS. Great Britain. France. I lussia. Destroyers ... 92 14 15 Sea-going torpedo boats 43 :k; 73 Do., first cluse, 115ft— 125ft 40 09 (; Do., second class, 101ft— 114ft 4 78 I Do., third class 20 :jo 0 Vedettes ... 73 9 109
STRENGTHENING THE NAVY., Issue 10421, 16 September 1897
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