Imágenes de páginas

fessional men were not included, nothing would be done. He did not admit that all precarious incomes were entitled to be assessed lower than permanent incomes. He reviewed and compared the relative positions of the landed and trading interests, and showed the * of an attempt to alter the relative scale of taxation, urging, as upon former occasions, that the alteration would in some cases merely add to the tax on A in order to relieve B. It was only, he observed, by a close examination, and by sifting all the details of a scheme for making the tax more equal, that the intrinsic difficulties of the attempt would be discovered. Mr. Roebuck's motion was after some discussion withdrawn. It has been mentioned that the remissions of taxation, which the Government was this year enabled to offer to the public, were due in a great degree to the economy which it was found possible to effect in the military and naval expenditure. Sir G. C. Lewis, who, up to the time of his lamented death, held the office of Secretary of State for War, in moving the Estimates for the army, explained to the House of Commons the circumstances under which this saving in the annual charges of the service had been made. The deduction, he stated, was somewhat more than a million sterling. The saving would be principally under the heads of stores and works. It had been considered advisable not to make any material diminution in the number of men, but to reduce the cost of the manufacturing department, in which of late years very active exertions had been made. Another reason which had induced the Government to spare expense in the present year was that the question of ordnance was to a great extent in suspense; and trials of the different kinds of guns were now actually going on, in order to ascertain what was best adapted for the service. The number of men for whom a vote would be asked was 148,242, being less than that of last year by 4161. The reduction would operate on sixty-nine battalions: the number of battalions would not be reduced. Sir G. Lewis proceeded to state the reasons why it was deemed undesirable to lessen that number. It was from no fear of invasion from France or other European power: the number of the English army depended on its peculiar distribution. “If we look to France and to other continental States, we find that their armies are for the most part confined within the limits of their respective countries. The French, it is true, have a certain amount of force in Algeria and a garrison at Rome, while !. have fitted out also an expedition to Mexico; but the great bulk of the French troops is confined within the limits of France. To Austria and other continental nations the same observation applies. Their armies to a certain extent resemble our militia, if we suppose them to be called out throughout the year. The English army is, however, placed upon a totally different footing. In the current year, 1862-3, the number of battalions of infantry on the establishment at home is 40; in the colonies, 45; in India,

56,-that is to say, 40 at home, and 101 abroad; so that nearly two-thirds of our army is on foreign service.” He was sure that the more the Committee investigated the matter, the more satisfied they would be that, setting aside all questions of the defence of our coasts, it would be impossible for the Government to recommend any lesser number of battalions or of men than was now proposed. The area of the United Kingdom is 112,000 statute square miles, while that of the British

possessions abroad is 7,383,000, the population of the United

Kingdom at the last census being 28,947,000, while that of our foreign possessions is 183,191,000. It could be no wonder that

so vast an empire—vaster, he believed, than was ever governed,

effectively under a single sceptre, should require an army as numerous as ours. One of the votes this year presented a considerable increase—the sum asked for the volunteers being larger than that of last year by 198,000l. This increased expenditure was based on the report of a Commission, which was lately appointed to inquire into the constitution and requirements of the volunteer force, and which had reported in favour of some additional contribution being made by the State to these corps. The total number of this force was on the 1st of August, 1862, 157,818, and the number of effectives was 131,420. The same character which belonged to our volunteer force might be ascribed likewise to the whole of our army. Taking our military expenditure throughout, whether we looked to our fortifications, to our regular army, or to our volunteers, the whole is intended for our defence against apprehended danger from foreign countries, and not to be the means of aggression upon others. An attempt made by Sir M. Peto to reduce the first vote by the sum of 255, 1591, was rejected by a large majority. A discussion of considerable interest arose upon the question, which had of late been frequently mooted, whether the expenses of the troops engaged in colonial service should not, in some fair proportion at least, be borne by the colonies themselves P , The point was raised by Mr. Childers whether a reduction might not be made in the West India garrisons, in those of Ceylon and the Mauritius, and in New Zealand and the Cape, where the relations of the colonists to the natives had occasioned the maintenance of military establishments out of all proportion to the European population. Ceylon and Mauritius cost 211,000l. for troops. Now, the Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure had recommended that a larger contribution should be obtained from these colonies. Ceylon had an increasing revenue, and ought to defray a much larger share of the military expenditure necessary for its defence. The Mauritius cost 150,000l. a year, but that colony had a clear average balance of between 50,000l. and 70,000l. a year. A sum of 150,000l. ought to be contributed by these two colonies towards the military expenditure. New Zealand, also, ought not to continue to figure in the Estimates for an average charge of 350,000/.

[ocr errors]

a year. Altogether, there ought to be in time a reduction in the Estimates of 300,000l. a year in the colonial military expenditure. Mr. ARTHUR MILLs supported the objection taken by Mr. Childers, and he moved a reduction of the Estimate to the amount of 80,000l. by way of testing the views of the House upon the question whether populations which enjoyed the advantages of self-government should not be apprised that they must not rely entirely on Imperial resources to defray expenditure incurred in their own defence. These arguments made much impression on the House, but some important considerations involved in the question under discussion were seasonably suggested by Mr. Roebuck and Lord Stanley. Mr. Roebuck thought the Committee was asked to cut down the vote without considering the consequences. It was underlaid by a great question affecting our colonial possessions. If a colony were called upon to provide any portion of the expense of moving the army, the colony would have a voice in the management of that army; for instance, supposing there were two regiments at Quebec which it was desired by the Imperial Government to move to Toronto. If the cost of the movement were to be paid for by the colony, the movement itself might be objected to by the Colonial Legislature, and thus the control of our own army would pass out of the hands of the Imperial Government. If they wished to tell Canada she must defend herself, he was not unprepared for that, but let it be done, not by a side wind, but openly and directly. Lord STANLEY feared the Committee were getting into a difficulty. He thought what Mr. Mills sought to do was in substance right, but he was not taking the right way to do it. The object was probably to reduce the amount of our colonial military expenditure, but if that were to be done, it should be upon our colonial military expenditure as a whole, and not upon a single vote for commissariat supplies, which must be proportioned to the number of men maintained. What was desired was that the number of men in the colonies paid for by the Imperial Treasury should be reduced, but not that one branch should be crippled by the reduction of a particular vote. The question of military expenditure was a large one, but he believed that it was not one upon which any inflexible rule could be laid down. Take the case of the British provinces of North America. If it were proposed to throw upon the local Government the whole expense of military defence the people of those colonies would reply, “We are not likely to be drawn into any quarrel with anybody except the United States, and if we are drawn into a o with them, it will be in consequence, not of our policy, but of the policy of the Imperial Government.” With regard to some of the other colonies the case was widely different. He did not know whether it was wise to guarantee the colonies against native incursions, for the result was that, instead of being deprecated, and instead of every effort being made to avoid them, native wars were looked upon as things to be desired by a portion of the European population, to whose advantage they tended. That was the case with New Zealand, and so with respect to the Cape; the Under Secretary for the Colonies had spoken in terms of high praise of the people there because they had raised an effective militia force for their own defence, the impression on their minds obviously being that they were conferring a service upon the Imperial Government by condescending to protect themselves. This was the state of things which we encouraged in the colonies by an over liberality in protecting them against internal dangers. As he had said, no uniform rule could be laid down, but generally the plan to be pursued was plain and simple, namely, not to call upon the colonies to pay for the troops employed, but to fix the number of troops which would be contributed by the Imperial Government for the purposes of local defence, and allow no more, leaving the colonists to supply what was wanting by a local militia. In this way disputes between the Imperial and local Governments would be avoided, for, otherwise, if the local Legislature refused to vote the money demanded for the Imperial troops, we had no means of enforcing the claim. As this question did not come before the Committee in a very satisfactory shape he hoped the hon. member would not press his motion to a division, because this would be doing injustice to the cause he had taken up. Sir G. LEwis said Mr. Mills had explained that he wished the reduction to be applied only to those colonies which had Houses of Assembly, and to exclude the Crown colonies. If it had been directed against the Crown colonies it would at least have been a practical motion, since for them the Queen could legislate by Order in Council. But for the colonies having Houses of Assembly the Government could not legislate, and the amendment, if carried, would throw on the Government a duty which they could not discharge. That could only be done by an Act of Parliament, and to call on any colony to pay a certain sum into the Imperial Exchequer without their own consent was very like falling back on the old plan of taxing the colonies. There were only two practical courses open to the House and the Government with respect to the diminution of colonial military expenses. One was for the House to legislate on the subject, which would be departing from the rule religiously observed since the American War; the other was to withdraw our troops from the colonies. If the House would point out any colonies where that could be done the Government would then know how to act. But, instead of the thing being done by a side wind, the question of withdrawing our troops ought to be raised distinctly, and a vote taken upon it. Mr. Mills' motion was negatived by a narrow majority,+71 to 66. Upon the vote being proposed to defray the expenses of fortifications, which included several works of that description for the colonies, Mr. Baxter again raised the question as to the obligation of the colonies to defray such expenditure out of their own resources. He said that “ }. year, the House, with the complete assent of the Government, agreed to Resolutions affirming that the self-governing colonies ought to be called on to provide for their own defences. Lord Grey and Lord Herbert were examined before the Select Committee on this subject, and both of them stated that a large part of the expenditure on colonial fortifications was entirely wasted, and that frequently the sums voted were not fairly chargeable to the Imperial Exchequer. He himself had moved a Resolution on the subject, but he had not pressed it, having been satisfied by the speeches of the right hon. gentleman the Secretary for War and the Under-Secretary for the Colonies that the Government were of the same mind as himself. Having looked very carefully through the Army Estimates, he was not at all satisfied with what the Government were doing this year to carry out the Resolutions agreed to last Session. It was proposed to vote 14,300l. for fortifications and store-buildings in the colonies which were self-governing. There was an increase in the item for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He should like the House to notice the fact that, of a sum of 10,000l. voted for those fortifications last year, only 1800l. had been expended. He was told that it was the intention to bring the whole outlay up to 100,000l. ; but as only 1800l. out of the 10,000l. already granted had been actually spent, the House had now an opportunity of expressing an opinion that this was not a proper application of British money. He did not think that in the Estimates before them the right hon. gentleman was carrying out the previously-expressed intention of the House of Commons; and he therefore begged to move the reduction of the vote by a sum of 10,000l.” Sir GEORGE LEwis said he was quite aware that it was questioned whether we should spend any money on fortifications for the colonies. He could only say for his own part that he was most unwilling to propose the expenditure of a single 100l. for the fortification of the colonies which did not appear to be of Imperial interest. If gentlemen were prepared to lay down the principle that they thought it desirable or were willing to entertain the question of emancipating the colonies or handing them over to some foreign Power, he could understand the proposition, but it was hardly possible to renounce the duty of providing to a certain extent for the military defence of the colonies as long as they formed an integral part of the Imperial dominions. It was not in the power of the Government to compel them to pay these sums, and if Parliament would not vote the money, there was no prospect that it would be forthcoming elsewhere. Upon a division the vote was carried by 75 to 43. An objection to the Estimates on broader grounds, applying to the whole scale and proportion of our military expenditure, was raised by Lord Robert Cecil, who, in support of his views, entered into an elaborate comparison, evincing much research and examination of details,

« AnteriorContinuar »