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BRITISH

EMPIRE,

such a floating armament is colossal, and until within the decade 1890-1900 it was borne exclusively by the taxpayers of the United Kingdom. As the benefits of united empire have become more consciously appreciated in the Colonies, and the value of the fleet as an insurance for British commerce has been recognized, a desire manifested itself on the part of the self-governing colonies to contribute towards the formation of a truly Imperial navy. As yet the movement remains in its infancy. In 1895 the Australasian colonies voted a small subsidy of £126,000 per annum for the maintenance of an Australasian squadron, and in 1897 the Cape Colony also offered a contribution of £30,000 a year to be used at the discretion of the Imperial Govern-

THE

ment for naval purposes. The Colonies have also contributed in some degree to their own naval defence by the erection of fortifications at selected points upon their shores. The net cost of the navy to the Imperial exchequer, as estimated for the year 1900-1901, was £27,522,600. Though available for service throughout the empire, and forming the principal bulwark of colonial defence, the cost, with the trivial exceptions named, is still borne exclusively by the Home Government, and recruiting for the navy is carried on wholly in the British isles. The following comparative list of the navies of the world is taken from the Statesman's Year-Book for 1901 :—

Strength of the Principal Navies of the World in April 1901.

j

j | I !

Italy. Japan. U.S.A. Germany. United France. Kingdom. Afloat. } Bldg. I Afloat. I Bldg. Afloat. I Bldg. Afloat. Bldg. : Afloat. | Bldg. Afloat. Bldg. Afloat. : Bldg 2 21 Battleships, 1st class 15 9 12 ,, 2nd ,, 2 7 11 „ 3rd „ 4 9 Seagoing, 4th class 8 3 8 Coast defence (modern) . 11 5 13 13 „ „ (old) 1 12 4 Armoured cruisers. 2 2 1 21 1st class cruisers . Other cruisers, protected or 15 14 28 2 16 12 38 2 100 belted 16 3 1 8 9 15 2 15 Torpedo gunboats, &c. . 14 11 21 16 27 10 20 14 18 10 100 Destroyers 7 26 17 25 47 (?)10 40 4 37 2 15 1st class torpedo boats . 138 14 25 I 6 98 151 36 143 2nd and 3rd class torpedo boats 175 1 2 I 6 Unknown 28 11 1 Submarines . 1 1 Rams (special) ! i 1 Torpedo depot ships (special) covers those still on the stocks or Under the head of “afloat” all ships ready or nearly ready for sea are included. “Building only just launched, which will not be completed for a yeai Land defence has hitherto been regarded as forming a secondary branch of the great question of Imperial defence. But though secondary it has been intimately connected with the development and internal growth of the empire. In the case of the first settlement of the American colonies they were expected to provide for their own land defence. To some extent in the early part of their career they carried out this expectation, and even on occasion, as in the taking of Louisburg, which was subsequently given back at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle as the price of the French evacuation of Madras, rendered public service to the empire at large. In India the principle of local self-defence was from the beginning carried into practice by the East India Company. But in America the claim of the French wars proved too heavy for local resources. In 1755 Great Britain intervened with troops sent from home under General Braddock, and up to the outbreak of the American war the cost of the defence of the North American colonies was borne by the Imperial exchequer. To meet this expense the Imperial parliament took upon itself the right to tax the American colonies. In 1765 a Quartering Act was passed by which 10 000 Imperial troops were quartered in the colonies. As a result of the American war which followed and led to the loss of the colonies affected, the Imperial authorities accepted the charge of the land defences of the empire, and with the exception of India and the Hudson Bay territories, where the trading companies determined to pay their own expenses, the whole cost of Imperial defence was borne, as the cost of the navy still is, by the taxpayers of the United Kingdom This condition of affairs lasted till the end of the Napoleonic wars. During the thirty years’ peace which followed there came time for reconsideration. I he fiscal

changes which towards the middle of the 19th centuiy gave to the self-governing colonies the command of their own resources very naturally carried with them the consequence that a call should be made on colonial exchequers to provide for their own governing expenses. Of these defence is obviously one of the most essential. Coincidently, there fore, with the movements of free trade at home, the renunciation of what was known as the _ mercantile system and the accompanying grants of constitutional freedom to the colonies, a movement for the reorganization of Imperial defence was set on foot. In the decade which elapsed between 1846 and 1856 the movement as regards the colonies was confined chiefly to calls made upon them to contribute to their own defence by providing barracks, fortifications, &c., for the accommodation of Imperial troops, and in some cases paying for the use of troops not strictly required for Imperial purposes. In 18o7 the Australian colonies agreed to pay the expenses of the Imperial garrison quartered in Australia. This was a very wide step from the Imperial attempt to tax the American colonies for a similar purpose in the preceding century. Nevertheless, in evidence given before a departmental committee in 1859, it was shown that at that time the Colonies of Great Britain were free from almost every obligation of contributing either by personal service or money payment towards their own defence, and that the cost of military expenditure in the Colonies in the preceding year had amounted in round figures to M0UU,UUu. A committee of the House of Commons sat in 1861 to consider the question, and in 1862 it was resolved without a division, that “colonies exercising the right of sellgovernment ought to undertake the mam responsibility oi providing for their own internal order and security, and