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till about December. Their completion cannot but fall very late in the financial year 1899-1900, and what guarantee have we that the foreign ships they are built to neutralise will not be ready months before that date?

No doubt we can build faster than others, but what does that avail us when we begin to build later? What it comes to is thisthat of the fleet which Mr Goschen told us would be adequate for the financial year 1898-99, two important vessels will still be unfinished at the end of that year. Of the fleet which is presumed to be adequate for 1899-1900, three important vessels will not be ready until quite the end of that year. No doubt these ships can be accelerated, as Mr Goschen, to his credit, has accelerated two ships which were to be completed in 1898-99, and which have now been set forward to the present financial year. He has told us about these, though he has been very quiet about those which have been set back. this, perhaps, is only human; what we complain of is the manifest vagueness of Mr Goschen's intentions. If he does not know when the ships are to be ready, it is fairly plain that he has not considered when they ought to be ready. If he has not considered what force we shall need at each stage of the future, he ought to have done. If he has, then why this vacillation in providing it?


The mention of ships postponed for a later date of completion suggests another point of comparison between the directors of the British empire and those of any other going concern. The Admiralty, so far as we can recollect, has never within recent years pretended to have an opinion as to the number of cruisers necessary for the British Navy. For battle

ships it has a rough standardloosely comprehended and languidly pursued, it is true-of a force equal to the next two powers; for in the dictum of the admirals, above quoted, it has quickly weakened "beyond comparison" into "equal." In respect of cruisers it would appear to be a complete blank. Hence it is not in any way surprising to find that, of the ships authorised last year, besides the two battleships mentioned, five first-class cruisers also are not to be completed till the financial year 1899-1900. Yet these were part of the equipment presumed necessary for the country in 1898-99. Similarly, five first-class cruisers authorised in March 1895 are not to be ready till 1898-99; they were part of our equipment for the present year. Similarly the Vindictive, which was to be ready this summer-a promise repeated in Mr Goschen's published statement-is set down in the Estimates themselves as not to be ready till some time next year. In this case, therefore, the Admiralty not only does not know when the ship is needed, but has not even made up its own mind when it is to be ready. What is the excuse for all this? It is found set forth more than once in the printed statement which accompanies the Estimates. "The extended use of water-tube boilers in ships of large displacement and power involved unusual demands upon the tube manufacturers at a time when exceptionally large orders had been placed in their hands in connection with industries other than shipbuilding. This circumstance has caused delays in the construction of the boilers for certain ships." The "certain ships" number thirteen on Mr Goschen's own showing, and probably a good many more.

Now is not this the directors of

the British empire all over? Here is the most important branch of its work unsupplied with plant. The deficiency might at any moment involve enormous loss, possibly ruin to the whole concern. Eight of the ships delayed for want of boiler-tubes were provided for in the Estimates of March 1895-two years ago. Is it conceivable that the directors of any private firm would dare to advance the difficulty of getting tubes in two years as an excuse for the non-fulfilment of their duty? Is it conceivable that such a difficulty could not be surmounted, given only the determination that it should be surmounted? By a private firm it would have been surmounted. But because it only concerns the British empire, the boiler - tubes on which the empire's salvation or ruin might depend may be delayed months and years in the interest of somebody's high-grade bicycles. It is one of the most mysterious of the many mysteries which enshroud the working of the Admiralty, that it is always finding difficulties in buying what it requires. A few years ago it was for guns that everything was kept waiting; then it was for armourplates; now it is for boiler-tubes. With regard to the supply of armour, it is significant that last summer Mr Goschen declared that further battleship construction must be postponed for want of it. This spring he has again mentioned the subject; but now his main point is that we do not need new battleships, however able we may be to build them. Now certainly nothing can have happened in eight or nine months to enlarge the supply of armour-plate which could not have been perfectly well foreseen and arranged for beforehand.

The inference is that it is not circumstances which have

changed, but only Mr Goschen's way of concealing them. In fine, we do not believe in any of these pretended difficulties in getting material from contractors. The Government is one of the largest buyers in the country at any time, and certainly the most constant. Any manufacturer will be too glad to increase his facilities for supply if only he can be assured of a continuity of demand. Is not the national demand continuous, and likely to be so? It ought to be. But the directors of the British empire comport themselves on each occasion as if they had never built a warship before, and were never likely to build one again.


The one valid excuse for limiting the material of the Navy this year Mr Goschen did not and could not He had hopelessly cut himself off from using it. This is the futility of building ships without providing the crews to man them. But Mr Goschen could say nothing of this, for his whole position has been that the numbers provided this year, with a similar increase of 6300 next year, will be sufficient for all our needs. Even here, on his strongest ground, he has not been able to escape self-contradiction. His admission that we had not reached an ideal standard in point of ships any more than of men seems to cut away the ground from his elaborate demonstrations of the adequacy of the present complement. It is no ideal standard to have more men than we can put aboard ship; therefore if we are still short of the ideal we must be short of the necessary.

Now, what do we require for our whole fleet, and what have we? The total required for all the ships, up to March 31st, 1896, has been put by Mr Goschen himself at 99,232. The crews of the ships laid down in the financial

year just ended and of those provided for the year 1897-98, Mr Goschen has recently fixed in the House at 11,620 and 3780 respectively. The grand total required is therefore 114,632. What have we to set against it? Mr Goschen's figures are these: in the active list 100,050 men, 25,000 reserves, 10,000 pensioners; these, with 6300 men to be added to the active service ratings next financial year, make up a total of 141,350 men and boys enlisted by the time all the ships provided for will be ready for sea. Is not this satisfactory enough? On this showing we have indeed men and to spare. But, alas! we must begin to subtract. Of the 100,050 active service ratings only 91,513 are set down in the Estimates as available for sea-service. The rest are cadets and boys training, and various non-combatants. Next year's 6300 men, we may roughly take it, will in the main replace those whose training will have been meantime completed; but we ought to take off at least 50 for increase in the non combatant branches. The 106,350 active - service men who will be enlisted by March 31st, 1899, are therefore reduced for purposes of sea-service to 97,763, which is probably a generous


Now, as to the pensioners. Mr Goschen counts on 10,000 of them, 6500 of whom are in the Pensioners' Reserve. The 10,000 thus includes 3500 men who are bound to serve in emergency, though not in receipt of reserve pay; but it does not take in 2000 or 3000 who are incapacitated for service by age or other circumstances. There are none of them young men, but they have all seen twenty years' service or upwards in the fleet: the one qualification may be held to balance the other.

It looks, therefore, as if Mr Goschen had discovered a very valuable source of strength which had somehow escaped the notice of his predecessors. But again we must deduct. Many of the pensioners, as Sir Charles Dilke pointed out in the House, would be required for the coastguard service. The Estimates put the numbers of the coastguard at 4200 men. These are all included in the numbers available for sea-service; in war-time they would have to go on board the ships. Now the coastguard is the one service that could least be neglected in war, since it would be a most valuable branch of the intelligence department. Readers of last month's 'Maga' will have noticed how fatally Admiral Baird was handicapped in the manœuvres of 1888 for want of a system of coast intelligence. We could not dispense with it in war; therefore we must take 4200 pensioners for the service. This leaves the pensioners at 5800even if they could all be got hold of and if all proved efficient. The numbers available for sea therefore sink to 103,563 trained men with the Reserve. That is still including next financial year's enlistments; without them the number is but 97,313-to do the work of 114,632. Counting next year's addition-who, of course, will not be ready for their work next year nor the next-we are still 11,069 men short.

There remains the Reserve. This year the Admiralty has decided to make an effort to increase the efficiency of this force. There are to be two classes: the qualified seamen will have served six months afloat, and will be encouraged to serve six more by the promise of a pension of £12 ayear on reaching the age of sixty. The seamen will include such men

as have not served six months afloat. The total of the Reserve is raised this year to 27,000 all told; 1200 are to be embarked during 1897-98 for six months' training. This sounds well enough on paper, and it may be freely allowed that if the plan works out at all successfully it implies an improvement on the present efficiency, or inefficiency, of the Reserve. But it is impossible to depend at all upon such a force until we can be satisfied on one or two points, which at present are something more than hypothetical. What proportion of the Reserves can be depended upon to serve the necessary six months preparatory to becoming qualified seamen ? The Admiralty is not prepared with an answer. The nearest approach to such an answer is the statement that 1200 men are to be trained during the coming financial year. At that rate it will take twentyone years to train the whole 25,000 seamen and firemen (leaving aside officers and boys), by which time the earliest trained, even with an extra six months added, will have long been quite useless. It would take about nine years to train even the 11,000 required to man our ships in the first instance. And even so the manning of our fleet would leave us without any Reserve, properly speaking, at all.

For it must be borne in mind that the seamen class the second class of the reorganised Reserve -would be absolutely useless. Modern seamanship, even in its simplest terms of naval gunnery and stoking, is a complicated art. If an untrained man is not only useless but even an encumbrance to its peace - manœuvres, would he be in war? In this connection we need refer 'Maga's' readers no further back than to


November last. In the article entitled "Manning the Navy" we showed that all reliance in wartime on any but thoroughly trained men must be at the best dubious, at the worst disastrous. The seaman class is useless in any case. The qualified class will hardly be much better at the best, and will grow less and less useful as the period of their training recedes into the past. Indeed it would probably be unjustifiable to count on anybody but the men actually training during the half-year in which war might break out. They might still be unhandy; but at any rate they would have some knowledge of their officers, their comrades, and their ships. But that amounts, on the present proposal, to no more than 600 men.

We are left, then, two years hence, with 104,163 men to man ships which require 114,632 — a deficiency of 10,469. The Reserve remaining will be incompetent and untrustworthy. But we are not blaming Mr Goschen for this. If his scheme succeeds, they will at least be less so than they have been hitherto. Even so, they will, as a whole, be less capable than many of the French inscript reserves, though some of our best may be as good as their worst. Even the redoubtable inscript must be a very doubtful quantity in the days of scientific warfare. We quite agree with Mr Goschen on that point. But there remains the fact that the French navy can man all its ships with active service men, while ours cannot. Man for man our seamen, being long-service men, may be presumed decidedly superior to theirs. the fact remains that France-or for that matter any Continental Power-can man every ship with crews capable of working her, while we cannot.


But, cries Mr Goschen, are we not to have a reserve of ships? We are not going to send all our ships to sea on the first day of war. Ships will break down in machinery; ships will be disabled in action: we must have ships whereto we may turn over their crews. No doubt. We said as much in the article already referred to; possibly we even gave Mr Goschen the idea. But Mr Goschen takes it up with an eager enthusiasm which you would hardly have expected. From the cordiality with which he anticipates breakdowns and disablements you would think that such were a source of legitimate pride to a naval administrator-that no wellregulated navy was without them. Undoubtedly such accidents may occur, but they are not to be welcomed-since they would often mean replacing a newer and superior ship by an older and inferior. Moreover, satisfaction that the material branch of the service has temporarily outstripped the personal does not mean that the personal should therefore be permanently kept back to give the material a lead. Else we get into a vicious circle within which pliant First Lords will be only too glad to revolve. Ships must not be built without men; men must not be enlisted without ships. The simplest way to balance this question would be to have neither ships nor men, for then there could be a superfluity of neither.

So far as we can see through the figures, there are not enough ships for the needs of very conceivable wars, and there are not enough men for the ships there are. But we do not so much wish to insist

on that we are willing to leave that to the judgment of the more expert. We return to the trustees of national prosperity, to the directors of the British empire. What would be thought of the chairman of directors who based his balance sheet on such a palpable confusion as the lumping of men available for sea-service and non effectives into one total? Who put the existing coastguard on one side of the account and omitted to place on the other the necessary men to replace the coastguard? Who included as an important asset a Reserve, the very existence of which was wholly contingent and probably mythical? Who estimated the capital of his company in one year's balancesheet at so much at such and such a date, and then in the next postponed the realisation of the capital for several months? Who fixed the necessary standard of resources against a rival company at so much, and next year allowed himself to fall below it? Who confessed that after two years' interval he had been unable to secure the necessary plant, because somebody else was giving out orders at the same time? A chairman, in a word, who let the business go to the deuce for want of clear-headedness and firmness, trusting to the obtuseness and apathy of the shareholders either not to find him out or else not to care what happened to their interests?

The shareholder is reputed to be a patient beast, but in a private concern even the shareholder would revolt at this. But we are only shareholders who have invested our all in the British empire. Let it go.

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