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position to ignore or overlook the vast growth of wealth that has attended and rendered possible the expansion of outlay upon national defence without placing an impossible burden upon the shoulders of the taxpayers. In the early years of the nineteenth century, when the national wealth was less than one-fifth of its present amount, the expenditure on the army and navy was running at the rate of 41,000,000l. per annum over a long period of years, as compared with the present expenditure of 72,000,000l. While our expenditure on armaments has increased during the past century by 75 per cent., or, in comparison with the peace expenditure of 1817 (15,000,000l.), by 380 per cent., our population has increased by 26,000,000, or 135 per cent.; our foreign trade has expanded from 63,000,000l. to 1,212,000,000Z., or 1800 per cent.; and the national income has grown from 200,000,000l. to 2,000,000,000l., or 900 per cent.
In the broad consideration of this question it must be remembered that it is the duty of the British navy to protect not only the trade and shipping of the United Kingdom, but those of the remote parts of the Empire as well; and a further strong justification for the growth of expenditure on the British navy is to be found in the expansion of the finance, commerce and shipping of the Empire. In an interesting paper entitled 'Under the Crown,' which was read before the Royal Statistical Society on June 13, 1911, by Sir J. Athelstane Baines, the author pointed out that between 1841 and 1911 the population of the British Empire had increased from 203,221,000 to 418,735,000, or by 106 per cent. Of the total increase 68.2 per cent. was due to the growth of population upon existing territories; and the balance of the increase, amounting to 37.8 per cent., was due to the acquisition of new possessions. The area has not, indeed, expanded in proportion to the population; for to the 8,526,641 square miles of 1841 the addition has been but 2,804,602, or 32.9 per cent. The population of 418.7 millions represents about one-fourth of the population of the world. It comprises 45.2 millions in the Motherland and 13.5 millions in other temperate countries; nearly 8 millions, chiefly coloured, in South Africa; and 352 coloured millions in the tropics, of whom 37.2 millions are outside India, principally in Africa,
The overseas or external trade of the British Empire for 1909 amounted to 1,595,751,000l., made up as follows:
Trade of the United Kingdom with other parts) 337,276,000
of the British Empire Inter-Colonial trade.
Of this huge total the inter-Imperial trade represented 395,227,000l.; and, even if this amount be deducted from the aggregate, the enormous sum of 1,200,524,000l. is left as representing the value of the overseas trade of the British Empire with foreign countries.
The military expenditure of the Empire outside the estimates of the United Kingdom has always been on a very large scale; and to the 21 millions spent in India we must add at least two millions for military expenditure in other parts of the Overseas Empire. This amount will be largely augmented when the Australasian and Canadian Defence schemes have been fully developed. Until quite recently the United Kingdom has had to bear practically alone the cost of protecting the vast sea-borne trade of the Empire; but one of the most significant and welcome features of contemporary history has been the awakening of the Dominions to a sense of their responsibilities in the matter of Imperial defence, and the willingness they have displayed to take up their share of the burden of naval and military armaments. An immense impulse was given to this movement by the historical debate which took place in the House of Commons on March 16, 1909, when, it may be recalled, the principal members of the Government made grave statements with regard to the future maintenance of British naval supremacy. This debate created a profound impression throughout the Empire; and six days later the Government of New Zealand cabled to the Home Government an offer to bear the cost of the immediate construction of a battleship of the latest type, and, if subsequent events showed it to be necessary, of a second vessel of the same type. This offer was gratefully accepted. On March 29, 1909, the Canadian House of Commons passed the following resolution;
"That this House fully recognises the duty of the people of Canada, as they increase in numbers and wealth, to assume in larger measure the responsibilities of national defence.
"The House is of opinion that, under the present constitutional relations between the mother-country and the selfgoverning dominions, the payment of regular and periodical contributions to the Imperial Treasury for naval and military purposes would not, so far as Canada is concerned, be the most satisfactory solution of the question of defence. The House will cordially approve of any necessary expenditure designed to promote the speedy organisation of a Canadian naval service in co-operation with, and in close relation to, the Imperial Navy, along the lines suggested by the Admiralty at the last Imperial Conference, and in full sympathy with the view that the naval supremacy of Britain is essential to the security of commerce, the safety of the Empire, and the peace of the world.
The House expresses its firm conviction that, whenever the need arises, the Canadian people will be found ready and willing to make any sacrifice that is required, to give to the Imperial authorities the most loyal and hearty co-operation in every movement for the maintenance of the integrity and honour of the Empire.' (Canada Year-Book, 1909, p. xviii.)
On April 15, 1909, the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia made a series of proposals respecting naval defence in a telegraphic memorandum; and on June 4 a new Government of the Commonwealth telegraphed an offer to the Empire of a 'Dreadnought,' or such other addition to its naval strength as might be determined after consultation.
As the outcome of these offers a subsidiary conference on Imperial defence was held in London from July 28 to August 19, 1909, under the presidency of the Prime Minister. The deliberations were conducted in secret, but on August 26, 1909, Mr Asquith made the following statement in the House of Commons:
That, without impairing the complete control of the Government of each Dominion over the military forces raised within it, the forces should be standardised, the formation of units, the arrangements for transport, the patterns of weapons, etc., being as far as possible assimilated to those which have recently been worked out for the British army; ... so that, should the Dominions desire to assist in the defence of the
Empire in a real emergency, their forces could be rapidly combined into one homogeneous Imperial army.
'A remodelling of the squadrons maintained in Far Eastern waters was considered on the basis of establishing a Pacific fleet, to consist of three units, in the East Indies, Australia and China Seas, each comprising, with some variations, a large armoured cruiser of the new "Indomitable" type, three second-class cruisers of the "Bristol" type, six destroyers of the "River" class, and three submarines of the C class.
'The generous offer, first of New Zealand and then of the Commonwealth Government, to contribute to Imperial naval defence by the gift of a battleship each was accepted, with the substitution of cruisers of the new "Indomitable" type for battleships; these two ships to be maintained, one on the China and one on the Australian station. . . . As regards Australia, the suggested arrangement is that, with some temporary assistance from Imperial funds, the Commonwealth Government should provide and maintain the Australian unit of the Pacific fleet. The contribution of the New Zealand Government would be applied towards the maintenance of the China unit, of which some of the smaller vessels would have New Zealand waters as their headquarters. The New Zealand armoured cruiser would be stationed in China waters.
'As regards Canada, it was considered that her double seaboard rendered the provision of a fleet-unit of the same kind unsuitable for the present. It was proposed that, according to the amount of money that should be available, Canada should make a start with cruisers of the "Bristol" class and destroyers of an improved "River" class-a part to be stationed on the Atlantic seaboard and a part on the Pacific.
Agreement was arrived at with regard to various details, including the loan by the Admiralty of cruisers for the training of officers and men, and the reception at Osborne and Dartmouth of Canadian cadets.' (Official Report.)
The Overseas Dominions have accepted the principle that the burden of Imperial defence must in future be borne, not by a part, but by the whole of the Empire; and they have expressed their concurrence with the proposition that each part of the Empire should make its preparations on such lines as will enable it, should it so desire, to take its share in the general defence of the whole, The Commonwealth of Australia and New
Zealand have both shown a keen appreciation of the economic and political significance that attaches to the naval mastery of the Pacific; and New Zealand has agreed that the armoured cruiser which she has provided shall be maintained on the China station. The Commonwealth, taking the view that a fuller Imperial partnership is indispensable to the future security of the Empire, has agreed that a definite place shall be allotted to her as to the other members of the Empire; and she is providing the Australian unit referred to in Mr Asquith's speech quoted above. The cost of construction is estimated at 3,750,000l., and the estimated annual cost is about 750,000l. Of this sum the Imperial Government offered to contribute 250,000l., but the Commonwealth Government decided to bear the whole cost.
Australia has not, however, been content merely with the fulfilment of the understanding arrived at at the Imperial Conference of 1909. At the invitation of the Commonwealth Government, Admiral Sir Richard Henderson visited Australia to advise upon the best position of a central naval base and the works necessary to make it effective, together with the positions for secondary bases and the location and character of training schools for preparing personnel for the Australian naval service. The Admiral was also requested to report generally on measures to be taken in the formation of a fleet. After an inspection of various harbours, the Admiral propounded a scheme which he embodied in a report to the Government in March 1911. It provides for fifty-two vessels and a personnel of 15,000 men. The expenditure on ships is estimated to amount to 23,290,000l.; and the sum to be spent on the construction of docks is placed at 40,000,000l. In twenty-two years the total expenditure will amount to 88,500,0001. The construction and equipment of six naval bases and eleven sub-bases are recommended. The fifty-two vessels of the completed fleet will be divided into eastern and western divisions, and will consist of 8 armoured cruisers, 10 protected cruisers, 18 destroyers, 12 submarines, 3 depôt ships and 1 fleetrepair ship. The building of the fleet will extend over twenty-two years; and of the 23,290,000l. initial cost of construction the Commonwealth is already committed to 3,500,0001,
The annual cost of maintenance of ships